Schiff Releases Position Paper on Armenian Issues

PASADENA–State Sen. Adam Schiff (D-Pasadena) who is vying for the 27th Congressional seat in November’s election–released a position paper detailing his views on issues of concern to the Armenian-American community.

The position paper outlines Schiff’s views on–among other matters–US aid to Armenia–recognition of the Armenian Genocide and assistance to Nagorno-Karabakh.

Below is the entire text of Schiff’s position paper:

US Aid to Armenia:

As a Member of Congress–I will strongly advocate for increased economic assistance and humanitarian relief for Armenia. I will work toward assuring that Armenia becomes self-sufficient and fully integrated into the global marketplace. Presently–as a State Senator I am working closely with the California Trade and Commerce Agency in formalizing relations between Armenia and the State of California. As a first stage–I am working with the Trade and Commerce Secretary to finalize a Memorandum of Understanding between the Republic of Armenia and the State of California so that a more extensive economic relationship may be established. In Congress–I will be able to further the work I have done in the State Senate to intensify economic relations between our two countries.

US Support for Nagorno Karabakh: Aid and Self-Determination:

I support the Republic of Nagorno Karabakh’s right to self-determination within secure borders and continued direct US aid is an integral part of this process. As a Member of Congress I will be a strong advocate for formulating a US policy that takes into consideration the history of the region and Armenia’s historical rights. Furthermore–I will strongly push for full and equal participation by representatives of the Nagorno Karabakh Republic in the peace process.

Ban on US Aid to Azerbaijan:

I strongly support the Freedom Support Act provision limiting US aid to Azerbaijan until such time that the Azerbaijani Government takes meaningful good faith steps toward finding a peaceful and lasting solution to the conflict. As a Member of Congress I will oppose any efforts to weaken–waive or eliminate Section 907.

The Armenian Genocide:

The Genocide perpetrated against the Armenia’s by the Ottoman Turks represents one of the twentieth century’s darkest chapters and the denial of this historic fact constitutes a continuing human rights violation against all Armenia’s. As a member of Congress I will work to advance any and all efforts to properly recognize this crime against humanity while vehemently opposing efforts to distort and deny this international crime. As a member of the California State Senate I worked with then Senate President–current Attorney General Bill Lockyer–to pass a measure opposing the establishment of Turkish government funded academic chairs at California’s universities. Since the passage of this legislation–lawmakers in three other states–Michigan–Massachusetts and Rhode Island–have followed the California model and initiated similar measures. In addition–I successfully procured over half a million dollars in state funding for the documentation of the Armenian Genocide–specifically the production of the Witnesses–produced by the Armenian Film Foundation.

Restrictions of Arms Sales and US Aid to Turkey:

The Republic of Turkey has a human rights record that is both tragic and unacceptable. Any US aid to Turkey must be contingent upon adherence to internationally accepted norms for human and civil rights. The United States should deny all aid until such time as Turkey peacefully and in good faith deals with the Kurdish Issue–its illegal occupation of Cypress–its continuing blockade of Armenia and denial of the Armenian Genocide.

Outreach to My Constituents:

When elected to the California State Senate in 1996–in consultation with the Armenian National Committee–I hired an Armenian American community leader to serve on my staff. This appointment has proven invaluable in better understanding the needs and concerns of my Armenian American constituents. Once elected to Congress–I will continue to initiate efforts and staff my capitol and district offices in such a manner as to foster even greater communication with the community.

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