By: Siranush Ghazanchyan of Public Radio of Armenia

Five members of the Armenia-U.S. Parliamentary delegation arrived in Washington, DC today for a week-long series of meetings, organized by the Armenian Embassy, with the Congressional Armenian Caucus, Administration officials, think tank and foreign policy experts, and Armenian American leaders, all aimed at strengthening U.S.-Armenia political, economic and military relations, deepening the enduring friendship between the American and Armenian peoples, and encouraging continued constructive engagement by the United States on a range of regional development and conflict resolution priorities, reported the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA).

The Armenia-U.S. Parliamentary Delegation is headed by Arpine Hovhannisyan, Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly of Armenia and includes Parliamentarians Armen Ashotyan, Edmon Marukyan, Aghvan Vardanyan and Naira Zohrabyan

“We look forward to this week’s historic Armenia-U.S. Parliamentary Friendship Group visit to DC, hosted by the Embassy of Armenia to the United States,” said ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian.  “This week in Washington marks Armenia’s political transition to a Parliamentary democracy and a major milestone in the growth of U.S.-Armenia relations.”

“Policy-driven visits afford visiting multi-party Armenian Parliamentary delegations such as this with an excellent ‘deep-dive’ opportunity to explore areas of cooperation with their U.S. legislative counterparts in the Congressional Armenian Caucus and key figures across the Washington, DC foreign policy landscape, while also engaging directly with Armenian American civic and advocacy leaders regarding ANCA’s forward-leaning pro-Armenian/Artsakh advocacy agenda,” concluded Hamparian.

Congresswoman Jackie Speier (D-CA), Co-Chair of the Congressional Armenian Caucus, and one of two U.S. House Members of Armenian descent, welcomed the delegation today, noting, in a statement to the ANCA, “This historic visit is a tribute to our countries’ shared goals for strengthening the close ties that bind Armenia and America together. I very much appreciated the warm welcome that I received while visiting last year, and I look forward to receiving an update on the issues that we discussed – including Armenia’s constitutional and economic reforms. By celebrating our proud heritage and triumphs, as well as sharing our struggles, I’m confident that we will continue on a path of friendship and prosperity for both of our nations.”

Fellow Congressional Armenian Caucus Co-Chair Dave Trott (R-MI), concurred, telling the ANCA, “I would like to welcome the Armenia-US Parliamentary Delegation to our Nation’s Capital. Southeast Michigan is home to a strong and vibrant population of Armenian Americans, and I’m proud to be their voice in Congress.  I look forward to a productive discussion this week regarding Armenia and the United States’ shared interests, and how to enhance our budding relationship. As a co-chair of the Congressional Armenian Caucus, I plan to spend my final year in Congress continuing to expand the United States-Armenian diplomatic, cultural, and economic relationship.”

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), House Select Committee on Intelligence Ranking Democrat and Vice-Chair of the Congressional Armenian Caucus, shared with the ANCA, “I am pleased to welcome the Armenian Parliamentary Delegation, headed by Arpine Hovhannisyan, Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly of Armenia, to Washington, D.C.  This is an important moment to reaffirm the close and enduring friendship between Armenia and the United States. Along with the rest of the leadership of the Congressional Armenian Caucus, I look forward to discussing our shared interests with the Armenian delegation.”

The Congressional Armenian Caucus will be hosting a reception with the Armenia Parliamentary delegation on Wednesday evening, March 7th, from 6:00pm to 8:00pm in the U.S. Capitol at the Visitor Center Atrium.

The Armenia-U.S. Parliamentary Delegation visit follows a Congressional Armenian Caucus visit to Armenia last year by Rep. Speier along with Congressional Armenian Caucus Co-Chairs Frank Pallone (D-NJ) and David Valadao (R-CA) and Representatives Anna Eshoo (D-CA), Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) and James Sensenbrenner (R-WI).  Representatives Pallone, Valadao and Gabbard also visited the Republic of Artsakh (Nagorno Karabakh), where they reviewed the U.S. funded demining work of The HALO Trust and offered remarks at the Artsakh Parliament in addition to visits with government leaders and various schools and historic sites.