Kerry Message to ‘Armenstock’ Music Festival Vows Continued Fight Against Armenian Genocide Denial

"There can be no compromise on the clear moral imperative to end genocide." –John Kerry–August 28–2004

WASHINGTON–DC–In his strongest campaign statement to date on Armenian issues–John Kerry publicly committed this weekend that a Kerry-Edwards administration would "fight against the denial of the Armenian Genocide," reported the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA).

The strongly worded statement was read by a long-time friend of the Armenian American community–Congressman Barney Frank (D-MA) at the "Armenstock–Kef for Kerry" music festival on August 28 in Franklin–Massachusetts. In the statement–Senator Kerry thanked the "organizers of Armenstock–Armenia’s for Kerry–and the Armenian National Committee of America–for bringing so many Armenian Americans together," for the music festival.

Joining Congressman Frank in making presentations at the program were US Representative James McGovern (D-MA)–who represents the Franklin area–and State Representatives Peter Koutoujian (D-Waltham) and Rachel Kaprielian (D-Watertown). The all-day concert and rally in celebration of the Kerry-Edwards campaign attracted over eight hundred Armenia’s to hear Armenian musicians and to kick-off a nationwide voter mobilization and "get-out-the-Armenian-vote" campaign for the fall of 2004.

In his statement–Senator Kerry explained that it has been his "privilege over the past two decades to work with the Armenian community on important issues including US recognition of the Armenian Genocide–strengthening US-Armenia relations and trade–lifting the devastating blockades of Armenia–and working for a fair and lasting peace in Karabagh."

He added that he is "honored to have the endorsement of the ANCA," and appreciates the organization’s "work to encourage Armenian Americans around the country to go to the polls in record numbers for the Kerry-Edwards ticket on November 2." The ANCA endorsed the Kerry-Edwards ticket on July 25 of this year.

Addressing concerns about the actions of a future Kerry-Edwards administration–Senator Kerry said–"I want to assure you that–as President–I will continue to fight against the denial of the Armenian Genocide. My administration will recognize April 24–2005 as the 90th Anniversary of this atrocity and will work to ensure that the lessons of this crime against humanity are used to prevent future genocides. There can be no compromise on the clear moral imperative to end genocide."

During his long tenure in the US House and Senate–Senator Kerry has consistently been a leading advocate of issues of concern to Armenian Americans. As a US Senator–Kerry has forcefully fought for US recognition of the Armenian Genocide–and is currently a cosponsor of the Genocide Resolution–S.Res.164. In 1990–Senator Kerry voted on the Senate floor for Senator Bob Dole’s (R-KS) Genocide Resolution.

The Massachusetts Senator has been a vocal and effective champion of stronger US-Armenia relations and has consistently backed legislative initiative to increase aid and expand trade with Armenia. He is currently a cosponsor of legislation–S.1557–which would grant Armenia permanent normal trade relations status.

Senator Kerry has spearheaded a number of initiatives to lift the Turkish and Azerbaijani blockades. In 1991–he was the lead sponsor of legislation–which was later enacted as Section 907 of the Freedom Support Act–restricting US aid to the government of Azerbaijan until its blockades of Armenia and Mountainous Karabagh are lifted. He also worked for the adoption of the Humanitarian Aid Corridor Act–which called for US aid to Turkey to be cut off unless Turkey lifted its blockade of Armenia. As recently as this January–Senator Kerry formally called on President Bush to press the visiting Prime Minister of Turkey to lift his nation’s illegal blockade of Armenia.

The program was produced by "Armenia’s for Kerry" and Pomegranate Music Events (www.pomegranatemusic.com). For additional information–visit: www.armenstock.com.

For more information about the ANCA’s endorsement–visit: www.anca.org/anca/pressrel.asp?prID=605

For information about Armenia’s for Kerry–visit: www.armenia’sforkerry.com

Complete coverage of Armenstock will be forthcoming. The full text of the Kerry-Edwards statement is provided below.

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