Reps. Chu and Speier meet with women-deminers in Karabakh, Oct. 8 2019. Halo Trust photo

California Democrats Judy Chu and Jackie Speier were in Stepanakert on October 8, for their first-ever visit to Artsakh and in a show of support for continued U.S. funding for de-mining programs in Nagorno Karabakh that the Trump Administration is seeking to end. Chu and Speier got a tour of the Halo Trust base in addition to meeting with president Bako Sahakyan and other NKR leaders.

Last August, Chu and Speier joined 87 other House Representatives and 22 Senators, who co-signed a letter to the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) urging continued U.S. support for de-mining work in Nagorno Karabakh administered by Halo Trust. In July, Congress adopted Rep. Chu’s amendment supporting cease-fire strengthening measures on the Karabakh Line of Contact. And in September, Rep. Speier joined other members calling for an end to U.S. security aid to Azerbaijan.

UPDATE: Reps. Chu and Speier visited Stepanakert a week after Rep. Frank Pallone (D-N.J.) did, and just ahead of the Pro-Artsakh Forum held in Stepanakert on October 11-12. The forum, co-organized by the Artsakh government and the Armenian Revolutionary Federation, involved over 100 guests from 30 countries, including parliamentarians from France and Russia, and local elected officials from the United States. According to the Armenian National Committee of America, a number of members of Congress issued statements welcoming the Forum.