December 6, 2023

Whitehouse Hosts Armenian Ambassador, Reiterates Support for Strengthening the U.S.-Armenia Partnership

Washington, DC – Yesterday, U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) met with Armenia’s Ambassador to the United States Lilit Makunts in the Senator’s Washington, DC office to discuss holding Azerbaijan accountable for the unprovoked military offensive on Nagorno-Karabakh, the humanitarian needs of Armenian refugees fleeing the region, and the latest developments in the peace process between Armenia and Azerbaijan.

“It was an honor to host Armenian Ambassador Lilit Makunts yesterday to reaffirm my commitment to strengthening ties between the United States and Armenia,” said Whitehouse.  “I’m a proud friend of Rhode Island’s vibrant Armenian community, and I’m working in Congress to ensure the authoritarian regime in Azerbaijan is held accountable for the clear human rights violations committed against Armenians in Nagorno-Karabakh.”

Ambassador Makunts thanked Whitehouse for co-leading a letter with Senators Jack Reed (D-RI) and Bill Cassidy (R-LA), and Representatives Seth Magaziner (D-RI), Gus Bilirakis (R-FL), and Frank Pallone (D-NJ)—and signed by nearly 100 members of Congress—urging the Departments of State and Treasury to impose sanctions on individuals in the Azerbaijani government who were associated with the military attacks against and the brutal blockade of Nagorno-Karabakh.  Ambassador Makunts also thanked Whitehouse for an October letter he sent to President Joe Biden with Reed and Magaziner requesting additional funds for the humanitarian crisis in Nagorno-Karabakh.

Whitehouse is a cosponsor of the Supporting Armenians Against Azerbaijani Aggression Act, legislation that would authorize additional aid to Armenia, end a waiver that allows the United States to continue to provide military assistance to Azerbaijan, authorize Foreign Military Financing for Armenia, and impose sanctions on individuals associated with human rights violations in Nagorno-Karabakh.  Whitehouse also cosponsors the Armenian Protection Act, which would suspend for two years the waiver that allows the U.S. to continue to provide military assistance to Azerbaijan.  The bill passed the Senate by unanimous consent last month and awaits consideration in the House. 

Since joining the Senate in 2007, Whitehouse sponsored multiple bills calling on the executive branch to ensure that U.S. foreign policy appropriately reflects the realities of the Armenian Genocide.  President Biden became the first U.S. president to officially recognize the Armenian Genocide in 2021.  Whitehouse cosponsors the Armenian Genocide Education Act, legislation that seeks to affirm the facts of the Ottoman Empire’s Armenian Genocide and honor its 1,500,000 victims by authorizing funding for Armenian Genocide education programs through the Library of Congress.


Meaghan McCabe, (202) 224-2921

Press Contact

Meaghan McCabe, (202) 224-2921