Obama-Biden Democratic Presidential Ticket Strong on Genocide Recognition, US-Armenia Relations

WASHINGTON-The Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) welcomed Democratic Presidential hopeful Barack Obama’s announcement of longtime Armenian American issues supporter, Sen. Joe Biden as his choice for Vice-President. Sen. Biden, who chairs the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, has been an outspoken advocate of U.S. reaffirmation of the Armenian Genocide and brings the principled international leadership needed to meet the challenges of the 21st Century.

“As we stated back in January, Armenian Americans, a community that is deeply committed to a moral U.S. foreign policy and constructive American engagement abroad, respect Senator Biden’s leadership and, today, we welcome his addition to the Democratic ticket," said ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian.

Elected to office in 1972, Senator Biden has been a voice of moral clarity on issues of concern to the Armenian American community.

He has been a support for U.S. recognition of the Armenian Genocide, dating back to his work with Senator Bob Dole to pass the Armenian Genocide Resolution (S.J.Res.212) in 1990, and stronger U.S.-Armenia relations.

Sen. Biden was also a perennial supporter of Section 907 of the Freedom Support Act, adopted in 1992, which restricted U.S. assistance to Azerbaijan due to its ongoing blockades of Armenia and Nagorno Karabagh.

In May, 2007, Sen. Biden, in response to a question from the Los Angeles Times editorial board about the Armenian Genocide Resolution (S.Res.106), said: "I support it, and the reason is simple: I have found in my experience that you cannot have a solid relationship with a country based on fiction. It occurred. It occurred." Senator Biden has been cosponsor of every resolution reaffirming the Armenian Genocide introduced in the Senate over the past 20 years.

In connection with his leadership in pressing the Administration to explain its firing of U.S. Ambassador to Armenia, John Evans, and the controversy over the subsequent nomination of Dick Hoagland in 2007, Senator Biden secured from the Administration a number of commitmen’s, among them that:

  • The next U.S. Ambassador to Armenia will meet extensively with representatives of the Armenian American community before and during their tenure in Yerevan.
  • The State Department will brief Members of Congress on its efforts to promote Turkish recognition of the real history of the Armenian Genocide.
  • U.S. ambassadors to Yerevan and Ankara would exchange visits for the purpose of ending Turkey’s economic blockade of Armenia.

Sen. Biden also authored a resolution (S.Res.65), which was adopted in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee by unanimous consent, to honor journalist Hrant Dink, who was assassinated in Turkey last year for writing about the Armenian Genocide.

In July, 2008, Sen. Biden reiterated his commitment to securing U.S. and Turkish recognition of the Armenian Genocide in connection with the nomination of U.S. Ambassador to Armenian Marie Yovanovitch. “Recognition by the United States of the Armenian Genocide is not the final goal. The real goal is the recognition of Turkey – of the Turkish Government – of the Armenian Genocide and the establishment of a common Turkish-Armenian understanding of the events and tragedy that took place," stated Sen. Biden.

The ANCA endorsed Senator Obama in the Democratic primaries and will announce its general election endorsement decision following the Democratic and Republican primaries. The ANC of Iowa had endorsed Sen. Joe Biden in his presidential election bid prior to the Iowa primary earlier this year.

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