Sen. Barack Obama Speaks Out On The Armenian Genocide

WASHINGTONMore than one hundred Illinois residents had an opportunity Thursday to hear Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) speak out on the importance of recognizing the Armenian Genocide, reported the Armenian National Committee of America. The event took place at a weekly Washington, DC "breakfast briefing," a tradition started more than a decade ago by the late Sen. Paul Simon (D-IL), allowing Senator Obama and Assistant Majority Leader Richard Durbin (D-IL) an opportunity to come together while the Senate is in session to speak with Illinois residents and answer questions about important issues. Present at the breakfast briefing were ANCA Eastern Region Executive Director Karine Birazian and ANCA Legislative Affairs Director Raffi N. Karakashian, Esq On several occasions over the past four years, Birazian has attended the briefings on behalf of the Armenian National Committee of Illinois and has questioned the Senators on matters of importance to the Armenian American community in Illinois. Having an opportunity to ask a question, Birazian thanked Senator Durbin for spearheading the Armenian Genocide Resolution, S. Res. 106, as well as leading the effort to pass divestment legislation relating to Darfur. Birazian also urged Sen. Obama to cosponsor S. Res 106. In response, Sen. Obama stated: "For those who aren’t aware, there was a genocide that did take place against the Armenian people. It is one of these situations where we have seen a constant denial on the part of the Turkish Government and others that this occurred. It has become a sore spot diplomatically" Following the meeting, Birazian commented: "Armenian Americans in Illinois and across the nation look forward to Sen. Obama becoming a cosponsor of S. Res.106. His principled stand on genocide recognition is honorable, and as a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, his support of the legislation would expedite consideration of the resolution by the committee." The Armenian Genocide Resolution, S. Res. 106, was introduced this past February by Assistant Majority Leader Richard Durbin (D-IL) and Sen. John Ensign (R-NV), and calls upon the President to ensure that the foreign policy of the United States reflects appropriate understanding and sensitivity concerning issues related to human rights, ethnic cleansing, and genocide documented in the United States record relating to the Armenian Genocide. To date, over one quarter of the U.S. Senate, 27 senators, have cosponsored the bill. The Armenian National Committee of America is the largest and most influential Armenian American grassroots political organization. Working in coordination with a network of offices, chapters, and supporters throughout the United States and affiliated organizations around the world, the ANCA actively advances the concerns of the Armenian American community on a broad range of issues.

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