U.S. Congressman Jim Costa arrives in Armenia

By Asbarez | Friday, 22 July 2016


YEREVAN (Parliament.am)— U.S. House of Representatives Congressman Jim Costa on Monday, July 18 arrived in Armenia for a four-day visit, meeting with Armenian lawmakers to discuss the Nagorno-Karabakh peace process and U.S. recognition of the Armenian Genocide.

On July 20, Costa visited Tsitsernakaberd Memorial Complex accompanied by Head of Armenia’s National Assembly (NA) Armenia-USA Friendship Group Samvel Nikoyan to pay tribute to the memory of the victims of the Armenian Genocide. Costa laid flowers at the eternal fire and honored in silence the memory of the saint martyrs.

He took a tour in the halls of the Armenian Genocide Museum-Institute and left a note in the Memory Book of Honorable Guests.

The same day, the Speaker of Armenia’s NA Galust Sahakyan received Congressman Costa. Welcoming the guest, Sahakyan underlined that the United States is one of Armenia’s most important counterparts and plays a key role in the political and economic life of Armenia.

U.S. Congressman Jim Costa and Armenian National Assembly Speaker Galust Sahakyan (Photo: Parliament.am)

Sahakyan underlined that parliamentary diplomacy is an important platform for the development of inner-state relations and noted that Armenia attaches great importance to the development of Armenian-American inter-parliamentary ties.

The Speaker assessed the effective activities of the U.S. House Committee on Armenian Issues and the members of which have always promoted the strengthening of relations between Armenia and the United States.

Touching upon the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, Sahakyan emphasized the United States’ continuous efforts as a OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chair country aimed at a peaceful settlement and provision of peace and stability in the region.

Regarding the Armenian Genocide, the Sahakyan thanked the Congressmen for his efforts through many years of voicing the necessity of its international recognition and expressed conviction that those efforts will certainly end with success.

Costa, thanking the Sahakyan for the reception, noted that visiting Armenia had been a dream of his. Regarding the issue of recognition of the Armenian Genocide, Costa said “I, as member of the U.S. Congress Group on Armenian Issues, should take measures and efforts that the Armenian Genocide should be recognized and the genocides will not be repeated anymore.” The guest expressed hope that in the future, the U.S. Congress will recognize the Armenian Genocide.

Referring to Nagorno-Karabakh, Jim Costa expressed hope that the conflict will be settled through diplomacy and highlighted the participation of Artsakh in the negotiations.

The interlocutors expressed hope that similar visits will take place in the future, directed at further expansion and activation of inter-parliamentary ties.

At the end of the meeting, Sahakyan awarded Costa the Republic of Armenia’s NA Medal of Honor for his pro-Armenian activities.

Later on Wednesday, Nikoyan, the Member of the Group Armen Rustamyan and the NA Deputy Aghvan Vardanyan met with Representative Costa. The Armenian Honorary Consul in Fresno Berj Apkarian accompanied the guest.

Head of Armenia’s National Assembly (NA) Armenia-USA Friendship Group Samvel Nikoyan, the Member of the Group Armen Rustamyan and the NA Deputy Aghvan Vardanyan met with Representative Costa. (Photo: Parliament.am)

Welcoming Costa’s visit to Armenia, Nikoyan has expressed conviction that there is necessity for activation of bilateral ties at a parliamentary level and highlighted similar visits. Costa has noted that within possible limits, he will support the activation of bilateral ties and the implementation of said similar visits.

During the course of the meeting, the sides touched upon the regional challenges. Nikoyan considered the efforts of all Co-Chair countries necessary regarding Nagorno-Karabakh conflict settlement. He underlined that Turkey always supports Azerbaijan politically, economically, and militarily.

Nikoyan also noted that since the beginning of the Syrian conflict, Armenia had received thousands of refugees, mostly from Armenian descent, and has been taking care of them.

Rustamyan and Vardanyan presented details about the situation in Nagorno-Karabakh’s and spoke about Azerbaijan’s non-constructive position. The full participation of Artsakh in the negotiation process was highlighted.

The U.S. Congressman noted that he was raised in the city of Fresno, populated by many Armenians and has many Armenian friends. He underlined his close relations with the Armenian community of California, which has a great role in the public and political life of the country.

During the meeting, the interlocutors exchanged thoughts over many issues regarding the further vitalization of Armenian-American relations and foreign policy.