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USA- Breaking News: Armenian Genocide Resolution Approved
For Immediate Release
March 4, 2010

Washington, DC - By a vote of 23 to 22 the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee approved H.Res. 252, the Armenian Genocide Resolution.

The committee passed the motion despite a well-funded lobbying effort by the Turkish government supported by major defense corporations doing business with Turkey. Parliamentarians from Turkey and Turkey's ambassador to the U.S. personally weighed in on the committee and the Obama Administration.

Major media reported that the Obama White House, which had remained silent on the issue until the day of the hearing, asked Congress to hold off on the resolution. If confirmed, the request would have been a breach of the president's campaign promise.

Committee Chairman Howard Berman (D-CA) opened the hearings in the presence of three survivors, two nonagenarians and one centenarian. As many Members spoke in favor of the resolution and the need to speak the truth to genocide to prevent crimes against humanity, others raised questions about the timing of the resolution.

Chairman Berman responded, "I have been in Congress 27 years and it has never been the right time" to take up this resolution. The House committee had approved similar measures in 2000 and 2007 and a commemorative resolution was debated on the floor of the Senate in 1990.

Members rejected arguments by opponents linking passage of the resolution to the recently negotiated protocols between Turkey and Armenia, and stressed the resolution is about the U.S. record.

Reflecting bi-partisan support for the measure, Democratic Representatives Gary Ackerman (D-NY), Jim Costa (D-CA), Donald Payne (D-NJ), Brad Sherman (D-CA), Lynn Woolsey (D-CA), Keith Ellison (D-MN), Barbara Lee (D-CA), Diane Watson (D-CA) and Republican Representatives Christopher Smith (R-NJ), Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), Ed Royce (R-CA), and Gus Bilirakis (R-FL) spoke in favor of the resolution.

The debate raised questions about the Turkish government's credibility whose claim for reconciliation is contradicted by its persistent opposition to affirming the U.S. record and which wages an international campaign of denial, despite widespread international recognition.

"The truth prevailed today, and the cause of genocide affirmation and prevention has been furthered. The United States record on the Armenian Genocide is clear, voluminous, and unambiguous, a matter recognized by President Ronald Reagan and by President Obama in a number of campaign statements. We commend the leadership of Chairman Howard Berman and all those who supported the bill's passage, which was introduced by Representatives Adam Schiff (D-CA), George Radanovich (R-CA), Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ) and Mark Kirk (R-IL)," stated Armenian Assembly of America Executive Director Bryan Ardouny.

"I also want to acknowledge Representatives Brad Sherman, Anna Eshoo (D-CA), Jackie Speier (D-CA), and Ed Royce for the pivotal role they played throughout this process," added Ardouny. "The pan-Armenian community letter sent a message to Congress that Armenian-Americans speak with one voice when they call on their legislators to affirm the historic U.S. record on the Armenian Genocide and to honor the memory of the American diplomats and humanitarians that came to the rescue of the survivors."

The resolution was supported by a broad range of Armenian-American community organizations including: the Armenian Assembly of America, Armenian Bar Association, Armenian Catholic Eparchy in the USA, Armenian Council of America, Armenian Evangelical Union of North America, Armenian General Benevolent Union, Armenian International Women's Association, Armenian Missionary Association of America, Armenian National Committee of America, Armenian Relief Society, Armenian Rights Council of America, Diocese of the Armenian Church of America - East, Diocese of the Armenian Church of America - West, Knights of Vartan, Prelacy of the Armenian Apostolic Church of America - East, Prelacy of the Armenian Apostolic Church of America - West, and the World Armenian Congress.

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

Contact: Press Department
Phone: (202) 393-3434

Armenian Dipart. of America

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