President Bush Again Fails to Honor Pledge to Recognize Armenian Genocide

WASHINGTON–DC–Despite the call for moral clarity from over two hundred US legislators–President Bush failed–once again–to honor his pledge to properly characterize the Armenian genocide as a "genocide" in his annual April 24 remarks–reported the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA).

In a statement issued April 24–the annual day of remembrance for the Armenian genocide–the President again resorted to the use of evasive and euphemistic terminology to obscure the full moral–historical–and contemporary legal implications of Turkey’s genocide against the Armenian people between 1915 and 1923. In retreating from his promise–the President ignored the counsel of the one hundred and seventy-eight Representatives and thirty Senators who had written letters urging him to properly characterize the Armenian genocide.

"Armenian Americans appreciate President Bush’s willingness to join with Armenia’s around the world by speaking out on this solemn occasion–but sadly–remain deeply troubled by his failure to honor his campaign pledge–and his own promise of moral clarity–by properly recognizing the Armenian genocide–" said Aram Hamparian–Executive Director of the ANCA. "It is truly a sad day when it is left to a lone diplomat–our Ambassador to Armenia–John Evans–to honor the forsaken pledge of his President–to speak as the moral conscience of our nation in the face of official White House complicity in the denial of this crime against all humanity."

As in the past–the ANCA has also expressed concern that the Administration’s refusal to recognize the Armenian genocide reflects a broader unwillingness to confront genocide–as evidenced by the White House’s failure to take decisive steps to bring an end to the genocide in the Darfur region of Sudan. The ANCA is working with a broad coalition of organizations to pressure the Administration to respond in a timely and meaningful way to the worsening crisis in Darfur. "If we are to end the cycle of genocide–we must–as a nation–generate the resolve to forcefully intervene to stop genocide when it takes place–to unequivocally reject its denial–to hold the guilty accountable–and to secure for the victims the justice they deserve," added Hamparian.

In February of 2000–then presidential candidate George W. Bush–campaigning for votes among Armenian voters in the Michigan Republican primary–pledged to properly characterize the genocidal campaign against the Armenian people. In his statemen’s as President–he has consistently avoided any clear reference to the Armenian genocide–and his Administration has consistently opposed legislation marking this crime against humanity.

The text of the President’s remarks is provided below:

Presidential Message

April 24–2006

Today–we remember one of the horrible tragedies of the 20th century–the mass killings and forced exile of as many as 1.5 million Armenia’s in the final days of the Ottoman Empire in 1915. This was a tragedy for all humanity and one that we and the world must never forget.

We mourn this terrible chapter of history and recognize that it remains a source of pain for people in Armenia and for all those who believe in freedom–tolerance–and the dignity and value of every human life. It is a credit to the human’spirit and generations of Armenia’s who live in Armenia–America–and around the globe that they have overcome this suffering and proudly preserved their centuries-old culture–traditions–and religion.

We praise the individuals in Armenia and Turkey who have sought to examine the historical events of this time with honesty and sensitivity. The analysis by the International Center for Transitional Justice–while not the final word–has made a significant contribution toward deepening our understanding of these events. We encourage dialogues–including through joint commissions–that strive for a shared understanding of these tragic events and move Armenia and Turkey towards normalized relations.

Today–we look with hope to a bright future for Armenia. Armenia’s Millennium Challenge Compact reflects our confidence and the importance we place in Armenia making progress on democratic reform and advancement of free markets. We seek to help Armenia bolster its security and deepen its inclusion in the Euro-Atlantic family. We remain committed to securing a peaceful and lasting settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and hope the leaders of Armenia and Azerbaijan will take bold steps to achieve this goal.

On this solemn day of remembrance–Laura and I express our deepest condolences to the Armenian people. Our nations stand together–determined to create a future of peace–prosperity–and freedom for the citizens of our countries and the world.

–GEORGE W. BUSH

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