Kerry Honors 86th Anniversary of the Founding of the First Armenian Republic

WASHINGTON–DC (ANCA)–In a statement released to the Armenian American community–presumptive Democratic Presidential nominee John Kerry marked the May 28–1918 founding of the first Armenian Republic.

In his statement–Kerry noted that–"the first Republic of Armenia rose 86 years ago from the ashes of the Armenian genocide–but was partitioned soon afterwards. Yet–Armenia’s yearned for independence–and seven decades later realized their dream of self-determination."

"Armenian Americans welcome John Kerry’s celebration of the 86th anniversary of the first Republic of Armenia," said Aram Hamparian–Executive Director of the ANCA. "As a Senator with a twenty-year track record of advocating for issues of importance to Armenian Americans–John Kerry understands the tremendous challenges–first among them the horrific toll of the Armenian Genocide–that the Armenian people overcame in 1918 on the road to the establishment of the Armenian Republic."

In April of this year–Kerry joined the Armenian American community in marking the 89th Anniversary of the Armenian Genocide. In a statement issued on April 22–Kerry called "on governmen’s and people everywhere to formally recognize this tragedy. Only by learning from this dark period of history and working to prevent future genocides can we truly honor the memories of those Armenia’s who suffered so unjustly." In the days prior to his statement–Kerry joined 22 of his Senate colleagues in calling on President Bush to "refer to the mass slaughter of Armenia’s as genocide in your commemorative statement." He was amongst the earliest cosponsors of the Genocide resolution (S.Res.164)–which marks the 15th anniversary of the US implementation of the Genocide Convention.

Kerry’s complete record on Armenian American concerns is posted on the "Armenia’s for Kerry" website www.armenia’sforkerry.com. The website includes previous statemen’s by the Senator and provides ways for Armenian American supporters to become active in the Kerry campaign through donations or other volunteer efforts.

Kerry’s congratulatory letter regarding the First Armenian Republic was read at a Greater Washington–DC area celebration last Saturday night–hosted by the ARF. The complete text of the statement follows.

Letter from John Kerry Honoring Armenia’s First Independence

Tonight I join Armenian-Americans in proudly celebrating the Republic of Armenia’s day of independence. The first Republic of Armenia rose 86 years ago from the ashes of the Armenian genocide–but was partitioned soon afterwards. Yet–Armenia’s yearned for independence–and seven decades later realized their dream of self- determination.

I am proud of my work with the Armenian-American community including my support for ending Azerbaijan’s blockades of Armenia and Nagorno Karabagh–for the Humanitarian Aid Corridor Act in 1996 and for extending "permanent normal trade relations" (PNTR) to Armenia.

This evening I would also like to pay tribute to the Armenian-Americans who have contributed so much to our great country. Your hard work and strong values make our country a better place for all Americans. I hope you have a wonderful celebration and–of course–a very happy birthday.

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