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armeniadiaspora: US Congressman Arrives in Armenia

August 8, Armenpress: Joseph Crowley, a US Congressman from the Republican party, has arrived today in Armenia. The visit is organized by the Armenian National Committee of America. The Congressman’s Armenia itinerary includes meetings with President Robert Kocharian, Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian, Chairperson of the National Assembly’s Foreign Relations Committee Armen Rustamian, Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly Vahan Hovhanesian, and Chairperson of the ARF Parliamentary group and former Minister of Education Levon Mkrtchian.

Meetings have also been scheduled with representatives of several coalition and opposition political parties, including the Republican Party, Country of Law Party, Armenian People’s Party, and the National Unity Party.

Congressman Crowley will visit Gyumri, the city most devastated by the 1988 earthquake, and will take the opportunity to observe several ongoing USAID projects there. He will also visit the region’s Armenian Relief Society (ARS) Pre-Natal Clinic, which is partially funded by the ARS of the Eastern United States.

On his visit to the Holy See of Etchmiadzin, the headquarters of the Armenian Apostolic Church, Cong. Crowley will meet with Catholicos Karekin II. Additionally, he will visit Dzidzernagapert, the National Armenian Genocide Memorial.

Congressman Crowley will reunite with longtime acquaintance and former Prelate of the Armenian Apostolic Church Eastern US, Archbishop Mesrob Ashjian while visiting the Mughni Monastery, significant because New York’s Armenian American community provided partial funding to reconstruct the monastery.

The congressman will arrive in Armenia on Friday, August 8 and depart on August 11. His Chief of Staff Christopher S. McCannell, and Legislative Aide Sarig Armenian will join accompany him.

During the 108th Congress, Congressman Crowley has cosponsored H.Res.193, the House Genocide Resolution; he has cosponsored H.R.528 to grant Armenia permanent normal trade relations with the US. The Congressman joined over 160 members of Congress in signing a letter to President George W. Bush urging him to recognize the Armenian Genocide in his annual April 24th statement; testified against the proposed reduction in foreign aid to Armenia in the President’s budget, urging Congress to maintain the $90 million aid.

Joseph Crowley is currently serving his third term in Congress. In January 2003, Congressman Crowley was selected to serve the as Chief Deputy Whip, making him the highest-ranking New York member in the Democratic Leadership. He is a member of the Committee on Financial Services, the International Relations Committee, and the Congressional Caucus on Armenian Issues.

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