ARF Parliament Leader Meets with U.S. Representatives, East Coast Communities
WATERTOWN, Mass.–Armen Rustamian, a leading member of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation’s Supreme Council in Armenia is touring East Coast Armenian-American communities visiting with congressional and other U.S. government representatives, announced the ARF Eastern US Central Committee.
Rustamyan is also a member of Armenia’s National Assembly, serving as chairman of its Standing Committee on Foreign Relations. During his visit, he has been discussing a wide range of issues tied to Armenia’s foreign policy and will reiterate the ARF’s continued opposition to the Armenia-Turkey protocols.
The Armenian politician arrived in Washington, D.C. on Dec. 9 for a full day of meetings with congressional representatives. During these meetings, he emphasized the dangers underlying the Armenia-Turkey protocols, and their use by the government of Turkey to impose preconditions that are detrimental to Armenian national interests.
Among the members of Congress Rustamyan met with was Rep. Howard Berman (D-Calif.), the chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs.
Rustamyan wrote to Berman in March 2009, just prior to the April announcement of the “roadmap” that led to the Armenia-Turkey protocols. “Taking into account that the United States has not yet officially recognized the Armenian Genocide, Turkey makes its status more and more inflexible in the resolution of Armenian-Turkish relations,” Rustamyan said. “I am sure that the U.S. recognition of the Armenian Genocide will not become an obstacle to Armenian-Turkish relations, it will contribute to their improvement.”
Today, his words ring prophetic as the protocols have since been used as a sword by Turkey to block U.S. recognition of the genocide, to force Armenia to recognize its current illegal border with Turkey, and to push Armenia toward resolving the Karabagh issue in a manner that denies its people their right to self-determination.
The protocols are currently before Armenia’s Constitutional Court. Rustamyan stated earlier this month that the ARF considers the protocols illegal under Armenia’s constitution, and that the court has every reason to consider them invalid.
After meeting with members of Congress, Rustamyan met with National Security Council representatives and conclude his day by giving a community lecture hosted by the ARF of Greater Washington.
On Thurs., Dec. 10, Rustamyan met with representatives of the Nagorno Karabagh Republic. Additional meetings were held with administration officials and with members of Congress, including House Armenian Issues Caucus co-chair Frank Pallone (D-N.J.). Rustamyan will then travel to Philadelphia to attend a community reception hosted by the Philadelphia ARF.
On Fri., Dec. 11, Rustamyan will meet with representatives of the Providence ARF and attend briefings at the Rhode Island State House. On his way to Boston, Rustamyan will stop for a visit at Camp Haiastan in Franklin, Mass., and will speak at a public meeting hosted by the Boston ARF at 7:30 p.m. at the Armenian Cultural and Educational Center (ACEC) in Watertown.
Rustumyan’s tour will conclude on Sun., Dec. 13 after meeting with ARF New Jersey members and speaking at the New York ARF’s 119th anniversary celebration.