Armenian Parliamentarians Reveal Meeting With Berman

YEREVAN (RFE/RL)–A group of Armenian parliamentarians met with the chairman of a U.S. congressional committee the day after it approved a resolution recognizing the Armenian Genocide, it emerged on Tuesday.

Koryun Nahapetian, one of the four lawmakers that traveled to Washington last week, said they discussed with Howard Berman, the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, further progress of the resolution and, in particular, chances of its inclusion on the full House agenda.

“Berman could not give a clear answer because it is obvious that right now the answer to that question remains uncertain,” Nahapetian told a news conference in Yerevan. “But we hope that the next step will be taken before the current House of Representatives completes term in office.”

Artak Zakarian, another member of the Armenian parliamentary delegation representing the ruling Republican Party, was cautious on that score. He acknowledged that “as was the case before” the measure, strongly condemned by Turkey, may well not reach the House floor in the months to come.

Echoing statements by other senior Republican Party figures, Zakarian suggested that Washington will use the resolution to press the Turks to ratify the U.S.-brokered normalization agreements with Armenia. “Whether the full House will discuss the matter depends on Turkey’s further actions,” he said.

Responding to an uproar from Turkey, the administration of President Barack Obama has urged Congress to drop the matter now. “The Obama administration strongly opposes the resolution that was passed by only one vote in the House committee and will work very hard to make sure it does not go to the House floor,” Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said over the weekend.

The Armenian delegation met U.S. lawmakers and attended Thursday’s House committee debate on the genocide bill to underline Yerevan’s support for its passage. “Our presence really influenced members of the U.S. House of Representatives,” claimed Nahapetian. “They became convinced that Armenia and all Armenians around the world have a common position on the recognition of the Armenian genocide.”

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