Villaraigosa Urges Fight Against Hoagland Nomination; Comments Evans, Menendez

LOS ANGELES–"We need to remember the events of the Armenian Genocide by fighting the nomination of Richard Hoagland until he acknowledges the Armenian Genocide as fact," said Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa in remarks delivered Sunday at the Armenian National Committee of America-Western Region’s 2006 Annual Banquet at the Downtown LA Marriott Hotel ballroom, where more than 700 Armenian-American community members, leaders and political officials had gathered to celebrate the organization’s achievemen’s of the past year. In his remarks, Villaraigosa, a national leader in core American human rights issues stated, cited the courage of former Ambassador to Armenia, John Marshall Evans, who was fired from his post and the State Department for appropriately referring to the Armenian Genocide as such. He also referred to the statement made by Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) who placed a "hold" on the confirmation process for the Bush Administration’s nomination of Richard Hoagland as the new Ambassador to Armenia. He reminded the banquet attendees of Menendez’s words, "As a leader and defender of democracy, it is our nation’s responsibility to speak out against injustice and support equality and human rights which is why I am placing a hold on this nominee." Villaraigosa acknowledged the role of the ANCA as the voice of the Armenian American community on this issue. "The Armenian National Committee continues to reawaken our conscience and remind us of the cruelty that man is capable of inflicting upon his fellow man through their efforts to keep the memory of the Armenian Genocide alive," noted the mayor. "They were at the forefront of the campaign to stop the nomination of Richard Hoagland and I am confident the ANC will continue to lead the way." Villaraigosa commended the ongoing efforts by the Armenian American community, elected officials and, particularly, the ANCA, to stand against the Hoagland nomination. "Their effort in blocking the appointment of Ambassador Designee Hoagland is a remarkable achievement and a reminder to all that principles must always come before politics." Senator Menendez’s hold remains in place today. The US Administration, to date, has failed to address the serious concerns regarding Ambassador Evan’s firing and Hoagland’s responses to questions raised during his nomination hearing in which he failed to clearly and appropriately acknowledge the Armenian Genocide. The ANCA, recently came out with a statement calling for the Bush Administration to withdraw Hoagland’s nomination and put forth a nominee who will not re-write history.

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