Gov. Dean Calls for Passage of Genocide Resolution

CRITICIZES PRESIDENT BUSH FOR ABANDONING PLEDGE TO PROPERLY RECOGNIZE THE ARMENIAN GENOCIDE

WASHINGTON–DC–In a letter sent to the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) on Monday–former Vermont Governor and Democratic Presidential hopeful Howard Dean called on Congress to adopt the Genocide Resolution and criticized President Bush for abandoning his pledge to Armenian Americans that he would properly recognize the Armenian Genocide.

"The ANCA joins with Armenian Americans across the country in welcoming Governor Dean’s support for the Congressional Genocide Resolution," said ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian. "We share the Governor’s criticism of the Administration–both for blocking this human rights legislation and for abandoning the President’s pledge to the Armenian American community that he would properly recognize the Armenian Genocide."

In his letter–addressed to ANCA’s Executive Director Hamparian–Governor Dean noted his agreement with then Governor Bush’s February 2000 campaign promise that he would "ensure that our nation properly recognizes the tragic suffering of the Armenian people." Citing the broad bi-partisan support for Genocide legislation currently in Congress (H.Res.193 and S.Res.164)–Dean observed that the resolutions "would pass tomorrow–except for the fact that President Bush is now pressing Congressional leaders to block this human rights measure for no other reason than that it mentions the Armenian Genocide." He then went on to urge Congress to pass the Genocide Resolution.

With this statement from Governor Dean–each of the leading Democratic Presidential candidates has now spoken out on Armenian American concerns–including calls for the proper recognition of the Armenian Genocide. Senators John Kerry–Joe Lieberman–and John Edwards are all cosponsors of the Genocide Resolution (S.Res.164)–and have supported other Congressional initiatives to recognize this crime against humanity. On December 15–Gen. Clark issued a public statement to the ANCA describing the horrors of the Armenian Genocide and calling for strengthened US resolve to prevent future atrocities.

The full text of Gov. Dean’s statement follows.

There are very few things that President Bush has said that I can agree with.

One of those statemen’s–however–is contained in his letter of February 19–2000–when as a candidate for President–he wrote the following to the Armenian American community:

"The twentieth century was marred by wars of unimaginable brutality–mass murder and genocide. History records that the Armenia’s were the first people of the last century to have endured these cruelties. The Armenia’s were subjected to a genocidal campaign that defies comprehension and comman’s all decent people to remember and acknowledge the facts and lessons of an awful crime in a century of bloody crimes against humanity. If elected President–I would ensure that our nation properly recognizes the tragic suffering of the Armenian people."

There is today–before the Congress–legislation to reaffirm our nation’s commitment to the aims of the Genocide Convention. Legislators on both sides of the aisle support this resolution (H.Res 193 and S.Res 164). They would pass tomorrow–except for the fact that President Bush is now pressing Congressional leaders to block this human rights measure for no other reason than that it mentions the Armenian Genocide.

Modern Turkey is an important and long-standing ally of the United States–one that is making strong efforts to support the rule of law at home. We can all acknowledge this. However–it is also necessary to acknowledge the past if its worst chapters are not to be repeated in the future.

The President is wrong to abandon his pledge to Armenian Americans.

I call on Congress to pass the Genocide Resolution.

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