Bipartisan Congressional Support for Genocide Recognition on at Capitol Hill Observance

WASHINGTON–Dozens of Democratic and Republican Members of Congress joined Wednesday evening with over five hundred Armenian Americans from across the United States in Capitol Hill’s historic Cannon Caucus Room in a solemn remembrance devoted to U.S. recognition of the Armenian Genocide, reported the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA).

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD), in their remarks to the standing-room only audience, both spoke forcefully of their personal commitment to proper U.S. condemnation and commemoration of the Armenian
Genocide.

“It is long past the time for the United States to formally recognize the Armenian Genocide,” noted Speaker Pelosi in her remarks.  She went on to spotlight the importance of grassroots efforts against Turkey’s multi-million dollar campaign of genocide denial. “How far we can go with the resolution [H.Res.252] this year depends on the outreach that each and everyone of us in this room can do to win on the floor of the House.  We can do any amount of inside maneuvering in the Congress and Washington, but what is important is the outside mobilization to bring to bear the voices of people across America.”

The Congressional Armenian Genocide observance was organized by the Congressional Armenian Caucus, with Caucus Co-Chairs Rep. Frank Pallone (D-NJ) and Rep. Mark Kirk (R-IL ) serving as Masters of Ceremony.  Opening prayers were offered by his Eminence Oshagan Choloyan, Prelate of the Armenian Apostolic Church of the Eastern United States as well as Archbishop Vicken Aykazian, Legate of the Diocese of the Armenian Apostolic Church of Eastern United States.

Joining Speaker Pelosi and Majority Leader Hoyer in offering remarks at the Armenian Genocide commemoration were Armenian Genocide Resolution lead sponsors Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) and Rep. George Radanovich (R-CA), House Members of Armenian descent Anna Eshoo (D-CA) and Jackie Speier (D-CA), as well as Reps. Thaddeus McCotter (R-MI), Jim McGovern (D-MA), Rep. Brad Sherman (D-CA), Dina Titus (D-NV) and Tim Walz (D-MN).

Members in attendance at the Observance also included Sen. Jack Reed (D-RI), and Reps. Jim Costa (D-CA), David Dreier (R-CA), Bob Filner (D-CA), Rush Holt (D-NJ), Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), James Langevin (D-RI), Richard Neal (D-MA), Gary Peters (D-MI), Ed Royce (R-CA) and Diane Watson (D-CA).

The evening included powerful remarks about the consequences of genocide by guest speaker Dr. Henry Theriault of Worcester State University.  Also offering remarks were Armenian Ambasador Tatul Markarian and Permanent Representative of the Nagorno Karabagh Republic to the U.S. Robert Avetisyan.

Video coverage of key remarks at the Armenian Genocide observance will be posted to the ANCA Website: www.anca.org

The Armenian Genocide Resolution, introduced earlier this year by Adam Schiff (D-CA) and George Radanovich (R-CA) and Congressional Armenian Caucus Co-Chairs Frank Pallone (D-NJ) and Mark Kirk (R-IL), calls on the U.S. President to properly recognize the Armenian  Genocide.  It currently has over 100 cosponsors and has been referred to the Foreign Affairs Committee, chaired by Rep. Howard Berman (D-CA).

President Obama, as a Senator and a candidate for the Presidency, spoke forcefully, clearly, and repeatedly in support of U.S. recognition of the Armenian Genocide, frequently criticizing then- President Bush for failing to properly characterize and commemorate this crime while in the White House.  He is expected to offer his first April 24th statement, a White House tradition, this Friday.

Among President Obama’s past statements have been the following:

—  “The Armenian Genocide is not an allegation, a personal opinion, or a point of view, but rather a widely documented fact supported by an overwhelming body of historical evidence. The facts are undeniable.”

—  “America deserves a leader who speaks truthfully about the Armenian Genocide and responds forcefully to all genocides. I intend to be that President.”

—  “As a senator, I strongly support passage of the Armenian Genocide Resolution (H.Res.106 & S.Res.106), and as President I will recognize the Armenian Genocide”

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