ANCA Calls on State Department to End Inaction on Turkish and Azeri Blockades

Congress Urged to Increase Pressure on the Administration

WASHINGTON–DC–The Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) this week called on Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to condemn Turkey and Azerbaijan’s illegal blockades–and urged Members of Congress to escalate their pressure on the Administration to oppose these blockades and other attempts by Ankara and Baku to economically isolate Armenia and Karabagh.

In an August 16 letter to Secretary Rice–ANCA Chairman Ken Hachikian expressed the Armenian American community’s "profound disappointment regarding the continued lack of meaningful diplomacy on the part of our government to pressure Turkey and Azerbaijan to lift their longstanding and illegal blockades of Armenia and Nagorno Karabagh."

Hachikian recalled the Secretary’s recent commen’s sharply criticizing Syria’s border closure with Lebanon and her statement that "good neighbors don’t close their borders to their neighbors." Hachikian closed the letter by asking the Secretary to ensure that "our government’s policy of opposition to blockades and support for open borders is applied universally and without double standards."

In an August 18 memo to Congressional offices–the ANCA urged Senators and Representatives to increase their pressure on the Administration to oppose growing Turkish and Azeri efforts to isolate–circumvent–and harm Armenia and Karabagh. The ANCA specifically called on legislators to press the Administration to not provide any US assistance to railroads traversing the Caucasus that circumvent Armenia. The letter voiced support for HR 3361–the "South Caucasus Integration and Open Railroads Act of 2005," which was introduced on July 21st by Armenian Caucus Co- Chairmen Joe Knollenberg (R-MI) and Frank Pallone (D-NJ) and Rep. George Radanovich (R-CA).

Commenting on the day of the resolution’s introduction–ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian–welcomed the "effort to protect US taxpayers from subsidizing an ill-advised and over-priced railroad project that–at the insistence of Turkey and Azerbaijan–has been designed to exclude Armenia. Constructing this railroad around Armenia runs directly counter to US foreign policy and–as if that wasn’t bad enough–makes absolutely no financial sense –which is precisely why its sponsors will surely turn to the American taxpayer to foot the bill."

The ANCA Congressional memo also called for increased support for HR 3103–known as the "End the Turkish Blockade of Armenia Act." This measure–which was introduced by Representative Adam Schiff (D-CA) and Frank Pallone–calls on Turkey to end its blockade of Armenia and requires the US Department of State to report on its efforts to reverse this violation of international law.

Activists continue to send ANCA WebFaxes to their Members of Congress in support of these two pieces of legislation using the ANCA’s website–www.anca.org.

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