Gephardt Presses for Release of Aid to Karabakh

WASHINGTON–In a speech at the Armenian Genocide observance in the US Capitol–House Democratic Leader Richard Gephardt (D-Mo.) pledged to prevent Turkey and Azerbaijan from continuing to block US humanitarian aid to Armenia and Karabakh.

"We appreciate the Democratic Leader’s forceful efforts to ensure that Turkey and Azerbaijan are not allowed to prevent the delivery of US humanitarian aid to Armenia and Artsakh," said Armenian American Democratic Leadership Council Co-Chairman Richelle Noroyan. "His leadership on this issue and his participation in the Genocide observance strengthen our friendship and reaffirm his leadership on human rights.

"His record is in sharp contrast to the Republican leadership–which opposes the Armenian Genocide resolution–even to the point of preventing it from reaching the House floor for a vote."

Noroyan currently serves as Acting Chair of the Santa Cruz County Democratic Central Committee–and is a member of the California Democratic Party’s Executive Board and the Co-Chair of its Resolutions Committee. In 1996 she was a delegate to the Democratic National Convention.

In his remarks–the 11-term Missouri Democrat stressed that he "…will work actively with the Administration to release these funs (the $12.5 million appropriated by Congress for Karabakh). It should have been done before now and we will work actively to get it to happen. I think that efforts by the governmen’s of Turkey and Azerbaijan to prevent assistance from getting to the people of Armenia are–to put it in a word–outrageous. They are absolutely outrageous–and I will make every effort with many of the members who are here to see to it that this outrage does not continue–that it stop and this assistance goes forward."

Rep. Gephardt also stressed the importance of commemorating the Armenian Genocide–saying that "It is very meaningful for all of us to have you here at the Capitol. We appreciate you taking the time to come. It means a lot to us in terms of this whole range of issues. And–believe me–we will do everything in our power to keep your confidence and to support your cause."

Rep. Gephardt has consistently voted for Armenian Genocide resolutions–including H.J. Res. 132 in 1987 and H.J. Res. 192 in 1985. He voted in 1995 for the Porter Amendment cutting US aid to Turkey due to its blockade of Armenia. In 1996–he voted for the Visclosky Amendment to strengthen the Humanitarian Aid Corridor Act.

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