Sacramento, CA – Today, Assemblymember Chris Holden’s resolution, ACR 105, that establishes a sister state relationship between California and the Armenian Province of Syunik – the southernmost province in Armenia, passed the Assembly Committee on Jobs, Economic Development, and the Economy.
The resolution declares California’s solidarity with Syunik and will encourage and facilitate mutually beneficial educational, economic, and cultural exchanges. The resolution is joint authored by Assemblymember Adrin Nazarian, and coauthored by Assemblymembers Lisa Calderon, Laura Friedman, Vince Fong, Jesse Gabriel, Christina Garcia, Mike Gipson, Tom Lackey, Kevin Mullin, Luz Rivas, and Senators Bob Archuleta, Andreas Borgeas, Maria Elena Durazo, Bob Hertzberg, and Anthony Portantino.
“For thousands of years, the state of Syunik has had profound historical and cultural significance for Armenia and the world,” said Assemblymember Chris Holden. “Strengthening our relationship with Syunik comes at a critical time as regional powers like Azerbaijan and Turkey pose a threat to its existence.”
"I enthusiastically thank Assemblymember Chris Holden for initiating this resolution of paramount importance,” said Consul General of Armenia in Los Angeles, Ambassador Armen Bairbourtian. “The establishment of a California-Syunik Sister State relationship will develop a multidimensional partnership between the U.S. State of California and the Armenian Province of Syunik. My gratitude also goes to all the state legislators supporting the resolution."
Syunik is one of the original provinces of the ancient Kingdom of Armenia and is currently bordered by Artsakh or Nagorno-Karabakh, Azerbaijan, and Iran. Syunik is home to the Armenian Stonehenge, Karahounj, that dates back to the bronze age; The Ughtasar Mountain petroglyphs that are 7,000 years old; the 9th Century Tatev Monastery that served as a center of scholastic and spiritual activity. The most populated town in the province is its capital, Kapan with 43,000 residents.
In the aftermath of Azerbaijan’s renewed war against the Armenians of Nagorno Karabakh Republic, the Azerbaijani military crossed into the Republic of Armenia and moved 3.5 kilometers into Syunik Province, seizing the entirety of Sev Lake. The next day, the Azerbaijani military breached two other sections of the border and occupied more areas of Armenia. Azerbaijan’s illegal presence remains in Syunik, threatening Armenia’s sovereignty and the people who live there.
The full text of the resolution, which will be next be heard on the Assembly Floor, can be found here: