Bradley Voices Strong Support for Armenian Issues

*In response to ANCA Postcard Campaign Bradley calls upon Turkey to acknowledge Armenian Genocide; defends Section 907; cites US-Armenia relations as the ‘Bedrock’ of peace and stability in the Caucasus.

WASHINGTON–In a statement today to the Armenian National Committee of America–Democratic presidential hopeful Bill Bradley outlined his views on issues of concern to Armenian American voters–calling for Turkish government acknowledgment of the Armenian Genocide–citing close US-Armenia ties as the "bedrock" for peace in the Caucasus–and expressing support for continued restrictions on US aid to Azerbaijan until that nation fully respects the fundamental freedoms of the people of Nagorno Karabakh.

"We welcome Senator Bradley’s statement to the ANCA clearly defining his views on issues of special concern to Armenian American voters," said ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian. "In this thoughtful and principled statement–Senator Bradley calls on Turkey–in unambiguous terms–to acknowledge the Armenian Genocide–echoing previous remarks he has made on the subject to national television audiences. He also defends the Section 907 restrictions on direct US aid to Azerbaijan and stands up for the fundamental freedoms of the people of Nagorno Karabakh–in contrast to the current Administration–which has sought to force Nagorno Karabakh back under Azerbaijan’s control."

Bradley has been forceful proponent of Armenian Genocide recognition since his years in the Senate. His statement today notes that "The significance of the Armenian Genocide transcends the suffering of those most immediately affected and speaks to all of us who must carry the awful memory in our hearts daily–educate out children to remember also–and–as a diverse nation–work for ethnic understanding–defuse ethnic tensions–and resolve ethnic disputes to that there is never again such a genocide."

Bradley praised US government and–in particular–Armenian American assistance to Armenia and Nagorno Karabakh–which "signify that United States-Armenia ties are the bedrock on which a future of peace–stability–and security can be built for the Caucasus region." Advocating "human rights and fundamental freedoms of the people of Nagorno Karabakh," Bradley also expressed support for Section 907 of the Freedom Support Act–which restricts direct US aid to the government of Azerbaijan until that country lifts its blockades of Armenia and Nagorno Karabakh.

Bill Bradley’s statement comes in response to tens of thousands of postcards already sent to him from around the nation as part of the ANCA’s ongoing million postcard campaign to the top five Republican and Democrat presidential hopefuls. Armenian Americans and concerned human rights activists from across the country have swamped the ANCA’s national–regional and local chapters with requests to participate in this national initiative–now in its third month.

The full text of Bill Bradley’s statement to the ANCA follows.

Bill Bradley on Armenian-American Issues

Bill Bradley believes that Armenia’s history–its present–and its future are all of special importance to the United States. As he said at the National Press Club last year–"First there was an Armenian genocide," the first genocide of the century that has just ended. It is important that we "never forget," and that the Turkish government acknowledge what happened–not only because 1.5 million Armenia’s were murdered by the Ottoman Empire between 1915 and 1923–but because by facing the past honestly–humanity can reach a better future. The significance of the Armenian Genocide transcends the sufferings of those most immediately affected and speaks to all of us who must carry the awful memory in our hearts daily–educate out children to remember also–and–as a diverse nation–work for ethnic understanding–defuse ethnic tensions–and resolve ethnic disputes so that there is never again such a genocide.

Modern Armenia deserves attention–admiration and support as it overcomes the Soviet legacy and builds a democratic–free market society. The substantial official American assistance and the even more valuable support of the Armenian-American community signify that United States-Armenia ties are the bedrock on which a future of peace–stability–and security can be built for the Caucasus region.

The generosity of the Armenian-American community helped ease the tremendous suffering and make possible reconstruction after the devastation of the 1988 earthquake. It has benefited Armenia’s economy by developing business and trade relationships and has encouraged a cultural renaissance. Most recently–its generosity has extended to the construction of a road to provide vital economic links throughout Nagorno-Karabakh.

Armenia’s future as an independent–democratic and prosperous state can only be secure–however–when Azerbaijan joins Armenia in resolving diplomatically the disputes between them–most notably when the human rights and fundamental freedoms of the people of Nagorno Karabakh are assured. Until those rights and freedoms are fully respected–it is appropriate that the United States’ relations with Azerbaijan and United States assistance to Azerbaijan are limited as Congress has mandated.

As President–Bill Bradley–who has been a friend of Armenia throughout his career–will continue to dedicate himself to helping Armenia’s achieve historical acknowledgment and modern Armenia gain peace and reconciliation with its neighbors. As President dedicated to building an administration that will reflect the diversity and genius of America’s people–he will continue to draw heavily upon the talents and insights of Armenian Americans.

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