WASHINGTON–Presidential candidate Barack Obama issued a strongly worded statement Wednesday calling for Congressional passage of the Armenian Genocide Resolution (H.Res.106 & S.Res.106), and pledging that, as president he would “recognize the Armenian Genocide, institutionalize the commemoration of this horrible crime by the federal government, and encourage its ongoing reaffirmation by the U.S. Congress,” reported the Armenian National Committee of America.
In his statement, the Senator reaffirmed his support for a strong “U.S.-Armenian relationship that advances our common security and strengthens Armenian democracy.” He also pledged to promote “Armenian security by seeking an end to the Turkish and Azerbaijani blockades, and by working for a lasting and durable settlement of the Nagorno Karabagh conflict that is agreeable to all parties, and based upon America’s founding commitment to the principles of democracy and self-determination.”
“Armenian American voters welcome Senator Obama’s powerful call for real change in how our nation addresses the core moral and foreign policy issues that hold such great meaning for our community,” said ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian. “After decades of White House complicity in Turkey’s efforts to block American recognition of the Armenian Genocide, most recently in the form of President Bush’s personal efforts this past October to delay the Armenian Genocide Resolution, the time has clearly come for a President who will lead ‘s not obstruct ‘sthe commemoration of this crime against all humanity.”
As a Senator, Barack Obama (D-Ill.) has spoken in support of U.S. affirmation of the Armenian Genocide and cosigned a letter urging President Bush to recognize the Armenian Genocide, but has yet to cosponsor the Armenian Genocide Resolution. While visiting Azerbaijan in August 2005, Senator Obama was asked by reporters why he cosigned the letter to President Bush. Obama defended his decision by stating the genocide was a historical fact.
The Illinois Senator publicly criticized the firing of former U.S. Ambassador to Armenia John Evans, who was dismissed for speaking truthfully about the Armenian Genocide, but voted for the President’s nominee to replace Evans, Richard Hoagland, who denied the Armenian Genocide in his responses to Senate inquiries.
In recent weeks, the ANCA has invited each of the candidates to share their views on Armenian Americans issues, and to comment on both the growing relationship between the U.S. and Armenian governmen’s and the enduring bonds between the American and Armenian peoples. Questionnaires sent to the candidates have invited them to respond to a set of 19 questions, including those addressing: affirmation of the Armenian Genocide, U.S.-Armenia economic, political, and military relations, self-determination for Nagorno Karabakh, the Turkish and Azerbaijani blockades, and the genocide in Darfur.
Armenian Americans, in key primary states and throughout the country, represent a motivated and highly networked constituency of more than one and a half million citizens. The ANCA mobilizes Armenian American voters through a network of over 50 chapters and a diverse array of affiliates, civic advocates, and supporters nationwide. ANCA mailings reach over a quarter of a million homes, and, through the internet, updates and action alerts reach well over 100,000 households. The ANCA website, which features election coverage from an Armenian American point of view, attracts over 100,000 unique visits a month. The ANCA also has broad reach to Armenian American voters via a sophisticated media operation of newspapers, regional cable shows, satellite TV, blogs, and internet news sites.
To learn more about the Obama campaign, contact: Obama for America, P.O. Box 8102, Chicago, IL 60680; Tel: (866) 675-2008; Website: http://www.barackobama.com/
Barack Obama on the Importance of U.S.-Armenia Relations
I am proud of my strong record on issues of concern to the one and a half million Americans of Armenian heritage in the United States. I warmly welcome the support of this vibrant and politically active community as we change how our government works here at home, and restore American leadership abroad.
I am a strong supporter of a U.S.-Armenian relationship that advances our common security and strengthens Armenian democracy. As President, I will maintain our assistance to Armenia, which has been a reliable partner in the fight against terrorism and extremism. I will promote Armenian security by seeking an end to the Turkish and Azerbaijani blockades, and by working for a lasting and durable settlement of the Nagorno Karabakh conflict that is agreeable to all parties, and based upon America’s founding commitment to the principles of democracy and self determination. And my Administration will help foster Armenia’s growth and development through expanded trade and targeted aid, and by strengthening the commercial, political, military, developmental, and cultural relationships between the U.S. and Armenian governmen’s.
I also share with Armenian Americans ‘s so many of whom are descended from genocide survivors ‘s a principled commitment to commemorating and ending genocide. That starts with acknowledging the tragic instances of genocide in world history. As a U.S. Senator, I have stood with the Armenian American community in calling for an end to official U.S. complicity in Turkey’s longstanding efforts to deny the Armenian Genocide. Two years ago, I criticized the Secretary of State for the firing of U.S. Ambassador to Armenia, John Evans, after he properly used the term "genocide" to describe the Turkish government’s slaughter of Armenia’s starting in 1915. I shared with
Secretary Rice my firmly held conviction that 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. An official policy that calls on diplomats to distort the historical facts is an untenable policy. As a candidate today, I call upon Congress to pass the Armenian Genocide Resolution (H.Res.106 and S.Res.106). As President I will recognize the Armenian Genocide, institutionalize the commemoration of this horrible crime by the federal government, and encourage its ongoing reaffirmation by the U.S. Congress.
Genocide, sadly, persists to this day, and threatens our common security and common humanity. Tragically, we are witnessing in Sudan many of the same brutal tactics – displacement, starvation, and mass slaughter – that were used by the Ottoman authorities against defenseless Armenia’s back in 1915. I have visited Darfurian refugee camps, pushed for the deployment of a robust multinational force for Darfur, and urged divestment from companies doing business in Sudan. America deserves a leader who speaks truthfully about the Armenian Genocide and responds forcefully to all genocides. I intend to be that President.
I look forward, as President, to continuing my active engagement with Armenian American leaders on the full range of issues of concern to the Armenian American community. Together, we will build, in new and exciting ways, upon the enduring ties and shared values that have bound together the American and Armenian peoples for more than a century.