ANCA Presents Armenian American Issues in Ethnic Roundtable with Ambassador Holbrooke

Leading advisor to Kerry-Edwards campaign welcomes dialogue with ethnic leadership

WASHINGTON–DC–ANCA Chairman Ken Hachikian participated this past week–along with fifty of America’s ethnic community leaders–in a policy roundtable featuring Ambassador Richard Holbrooke–a senior advisor to the Kerry-Edwards campaign and a leading candidate for Secretary of State in the event of a Democratic victory this November.

The private policy discussion was held on Thursday–October 7 in Cleveland–Ohio. Topics ranged from a general review of ethnic priorities to specific issues of concern to individual communities. A consistent theme raised by each of the groups was that the Bush Administration has failed to meaningfully engage America’s ethnic leadership or to seek out their special insights during the formulation and implementation of US foreign policy.

Speaking to concerns raised by the ANCA delegation–Amb. Holbrooke stressed that Senator Kerry’s "friendship for Armenia goes back a long way. It’s well established. He understands the issues. He’s taken a very strong stance on Nagorno-Karabagh–on aid–on recognition of the Genocide–ending the blockades of Armenia. There is a very clear cut difference between the two candidates."

More broadly–the Ambassador noted that ethnic Americans "should make a determination as to which candidate cares more about the issues of Central Europe–including Macedonia–Armenia–and the other issues that we discussed today. Without exception–the Democrats are going to do more. All of you in this room know that… It’s just not a close contest here." He added–"You can’t represent the United States overseas if you don’t listen to the people of the United States…John Kerry and anybody he appoints to senior jobs–don’t know who he will appoint–but he will listen to you all."

"We welcomed this opportunity to represent the concerns of the Armenian American community in this roundtable meeting of the leaders of our nation’s ethnic communities," said ANCA Chairman Ken Hachikian. "Speaking to this group–Ambassador Holbrooke–a veteran foreign policy expert who has served at the highest levels of the State Department–highlighted Senator Kerry’s strong support for Armenian issues–including the recognition of the Armenian Genocide. We were–of course–gratified by these remarks–as well as by his clearly articulated expectation that a Kerry-Edwards Administration would pro-actively seek the unique input and special insights of ethnic Americans on the often complex foreign policy issues facing our nation."

Richard Holbrooke served as US Ambassador to the United Nations in the Clinton Administration. He was also an Assistant Secretary of State and a special envoy to Bosnia and Kosovo. In this latter capacity he helped negotiate the Dayton Peace Accords in 1995. He was introduced at the roundtable by his wife–Kati Marton–who serves as the Chairwoman of the International Women’s Health Coalition.

In addition to the Armenian American delegation–which included ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian and two leaders of the Ohio Armenian community–were leaders from organizations representing Albanian Americans–Arab Americans–Byelorussian Americans–Croatian Americans–Czech Americans–Greek Americans–Hungarian Americans–Irish Americans–Italian Americans–Lithuanian Americans–Muslim Americans–Polish Americans–Portuguese Americans–Romanian Americans–Serbian Americans–Slovak Americans–Slovene Americans–Ukrainian Americans–and Vietnamese Americans.

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