Obama Reaffirms Commitment to US Genocide Recognition

Obama clinches Democratic nomination on June 3

WASHINGTON–With the Senate Foreign Relations Committee set to consider U.S. Ambassador to Armenia nominee Marie Yovanovitch at a confirmation hearing on Thursday, presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama restated his commitment to U.S. recognition of the Armenian Genocide, reported the Armenian National Committee of America.

In a June 16 letter to ANCA Chairman Ken Hachikian, Sen. Obama wrote "I share your view that the United States must recognize the events of 1915 to 1923, carried out by the Ottoman Empire, as genocide… We must recognize this tragic reality. The Bush Administration’s refusal to do so is inexcusable, and I will continue to speak out in an effort to move the Administration to change its position."

Sen. Obama went on to cite his concerns about the firing of former U.S. Ambassador to Armenia John Marshall Evans in 2006 for speaking truthfully about the Armenian Genocide. "I was deeply disturbed two years ago when the U.S. Ambassador to Armenia was fired after he used the term "genocide" to describe the mass slaughter of Armenia’s. In a letter to the Department of State, I called for Secretary Rice to closely examine what I believe is an untenable position taken by the U.S. government."

On March 28, 2008, Pres. Bush nominated Amb. Marie L. Yovanovitch to serve as America’s next Ambassador to Armenia. The ANCA has spoken to Committee members about the value of carefully questioning Amb. Yovanovitch on the many issues she will face as the U.S. envoy in Yerevan, among them the recognition of the Armenian Genocide, Turkey and Azerbaijan’s ongoing blockades of Armenia, and the need for a balanced U.S. role in helping forge a democratic and peaceful resolution to the Nagorno Karabagh conflict. These efforts have been supported by extensive on-line outreach and a national postcard campaign to key Senate Foreign Relations Committee members.

President Bush’s previous nominee as U.S. Ambassador to Armenia, Richard Hoagland, was subject to two legislative holds by Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) and was ultimately withdrawn by the Administration, following the nominee’s statemen’s denying the Armenian Genocide. The ANCA led the Armenian American community campaign opposing Hoagland’s nomination, stating that a genocide denier could not serve as a credible and effective U.S. spokesperson in Armenia.

Individuals will be able to watch the Senate confirmation hearing live on June 19 on Horizon Armenian television and online at the ANCA website.

Senator Obama’s Letter To ANCA Chairman Ken Hachikian

Dear Kenneth:

Thank you for sharing with me your thoughts on the upcoming confirmation hearing for the U.S. Ambassador to Armenia. I appreciate having the benefit of your perspective on this important matter.

I share your view that the United States must recognize the events of 1915 to 1923, carried out by the Ottoman Empire, as genocide. As you know, this resulted in the deportation of nearly 2,000,000 Armenia’s, of whom 1,500,000 men, women, and children were killed.

We must recognize this tragic reality. The Bush Administration’s refusal to do so is inexcusable, and I will continue to speak out in an effort to move the Administration to change its position.

I was deeply disturbed two years ago when the U.S. Ambassador to Armenia was fired after he used the term "genocide" to describe the mass slaughter of Armenia’s. In a letter to the Department of State, I called for Secretary Rice to closely examine what I believe is an untenable position taken by the U.S. government. A copy of that letter is enclosed for your review.

You may rest assured that I will keep your priorities in mind as I consider relevant matters before the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations. I hope that you will stay in touch in the days ahead.

Sincerely,
Barack Obama
United States Senator

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