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Commitment to North Armenia, Artsakh — Armenia Fund USA Newsletter 2014.1

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For Immediate Release
May 24, 2010


NEW YORK, New York — May 22 marked the much-anticipated, official opening of the Armenia Fund’s Armenian-French Friendship Canal, a 15-kilometer irrigation pipeline in Armenia’s Tavush Region.

Patrick Devedjian (center) arrives with Armen Gevorgyan (left) for the debut of the Armenian-French Friendship Canal

The ceremony included an impressive French-Armenian delegation comprising guest of honor Patrick Devedjian, president of the General Council of Hauts-de-Seine, a district bordering Paris, and minister of France’s Economic Recovery Plan; representatives of the Armenia Fund’s French affiliate, headed by Chairman Bedros Terzian, all of whom played invaluable roles in securing the support of the Hauts-de-Seine General Council; and Patrick Alexanian, a member of the Council and representative of the opposition party.

Also present at the event were RA Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Territorial Administration Armen Gevorgyan; Hayastan All-Armenian Fund Executive Director Ara Vardanyan; Tavush Governor Armen Ghularyan; and the mayor of the communities that will benefit from the project.

The French-Armenian delegation tests the irrigation pipeline, the Tavush countryside visible in the background

Through the efforts of the Armenia Fund’s French affiliate and with financing from the Hauts-de-Seine General Council, the old Khashtarak-Lusahovit-Ditavan irrigation pipeline was rebuilt and extended by 500 meters, enabling it to provide ample irrigation for 600 hectares of land across the three communities. The reconstructed pipeline was renamed the Armenian-French Friendship Canal in honor of its sponsors.

Underscoring the project’s vital importance to the agricultural productivity of Khashtarak, Lusahovit, and Ditavan, residents young and old alike were in attendance, sharing their joy with the esteemed guests.

The Hauts-de-Seine General Council has implemented agricultural infrastructure projects in Tavush since 2008, with both the ruling and opposition parties of the Council voting unanimously for the proposal to fund projects in the region.

Council President Patrick Devedjian celebrates with Tavush villagers

On the day before the opening ceremony, during a reception hosted by the Armenia Fund Executive Board, Devedjian announced that the Hauts-de-Seine General Council resolved to grant 500,000 euros annually for rural development projects in Armenia. Yearly renewals of the grant will be contingent upon the successful implementation of prior initiatives, explained Devedjian, the assessment of recent projects funded by the Council being the main reason for his and Alexanian’s visit to Armenia.

In regard to his findings, Devedjian announced in his opening ceremony speech that he was satisfied with the high quality of the project, reaffirming his commitment to continued collaboration with the Armenia Fund.

Speaking on behalf of the Armenian government, Deputy Prime Minister Armen Gevorgyan expressed gratitude to the Hauts-de-Seine General Council for its generous support of economic development in Tavush. Gevorgyan also stressed the importance of the Armenian-French Friendship Canal in terms of its expected socioeconomic benefits to the area’s residents.

Apart from funding the French-Armenian Friendship Canal, the Hauts-de-Seine General Council grant has provided Tavush farmers with seeds and saplings of a variety of plants, including fruits such as dates, which are novelties in Armenia. The resulting cash crops are anticipated to further boost local agribusiness. Newly introduced Mara de Bois strawberries, which can be harvested three times a year, are already being sold in local markets and Executive Director Ara Vardanyan is optimistic that crops grown as a direct result of the rebuilt pipeline will soon reach the markets of Yerevan.

The Armenia Fund continues to carry out a myriad of complementary projects in Tavush within the framework of its Rural Development Program. The list of six villages receiving development assistance from the Fund has grown recently with the addition of eight communities — Getahovit, Vazashen, Aygehovit, Kayan, Sarigyugh, Berkaber, Tsakhkavan, and Sevkar — where a variety of initiatives will be undertaken.

Towards this end, the Fund’s French affiliate and the Hauts-de-Seine General Council are expected to soon reach an agreement, by which the Council will award a grant for the reconstruction and expansion of the Aygehovit-Vazashen water pipeline. The grant will also make possible the building of a plantation, several greenhouses, and two community-operated, farming-equipment centers.

French affiliate Chairman Bedros Terzian addressed members of local communities: “You are here, close to the border, and face many difficulties. We diasporans live far away from the border, yet the geographical distance that separates us does not lessen but, in fact, doubles our responsibility to be of assistance to you.”

ABOUT ARMENIA FUND USA: founded in 1992, was one of the first of Hayastan All-Armenian Fund’s 18 international affiliates and serves constituents in all states east of the Mississippi. As a non-profit, non-governmental, nonsectarian organization, the Fund represents all Armenian constituents. Armenia Fund USA is the largest contributor among the 18 international affiliates – supporting strategic infrastructure projects in Armenia and Karabakh. The Fund has adopted a policy to go “Beyond Bricks and Mortar” to provide sustainability for projects it sponsors.

To learn more about Armenia Fund USA, please visit our website at or call us at 212-689-5307.

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