October 10, 2007, 4:30 pm


Washington, DC – The Armenian Assembly of America today commended Members of the House Foreign Affairs Committee for voting 27 to 21 in favor of a resolution that affirms the Armenian Genocide as fact. The measure was approved despite heavy lobbying by the Turkish government, which has refused to acknowledge the atrocities against the Armenian people and had threatened the United States government with retribution if the Congress approved the genocide resolution.

Hours before the Committee vote, President Bush in a video address, publicly contradicted his earlier acknowledgement of the Armenian Genocide and urged lawmakers to oppose the resolution. The President’s last minute attempt to kill the legislation only backfired, and helped pass the resolution.

“This is a historic day and a critically important step forward on this issue,” said Bryan Ardouny, Executive Director of the Armenian Assembly of America. “I am grateful for the support of Members of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, who resisted efforts by the Administration to pressure them into voting a certain way. It is long past time for the U.S. government to acknowledge and affirm this horrible chapter of history – the first genocide of the 20th century and a part of history that we must never forget.”

The resolution is non-binding, but represents the official U.S. reaffirmation of genocide against the Armenian people – events that are amply documented by historians and other nations but which the government of Turkey has denied.

House leaders have not yet scheduled the resolution for a vote, though Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-MD) has said that he’d like to have a vote by the full House before Thanksgiving. The Armenian Assembly will encourage the House to consider this measure as quickly as possible. In addition, the Assembly will work with Senate leaders to secure an affirmative vote in that chamber on legislation supported by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) that already has 32 co-sponsors.

Earlier this week, the Assembly called upon House leaders to reject lobbying pressure by the government of Turkey to derail the resolution. Some Turkish leaders implied that their government would cut back on efforts to assist the United States in the global war against terrorism if the Congress approved the genocide resolution. They also suggested – against all evidence – that the U.S. economy would suffer if the House approved the genocide measure.

Established in 1972, the Armenian Assembly of America is the largest Washington-based nationwide organization promoting public understanding and awareness of Armenian issues. It is a 501 (c) (3) tax-exempt membership organization.


Source: http://www.aaainc.org/index.php?id=7&no_cache=1&newsID=59