Saturday, April 25, 2009

ANCA: Obama Betrays Armenian Genocide Pledge

For Immediate Release
April 24, 2009
Contact: Elizabeth S. Chouldjian
Tel: (202) 775-1918


-- April 24th statement avoids "genocide" characterization

WASHINGTON, DC -- Despite repeated statements properly
characterizing the Armenian Genocide during his Senate career and a
clear pledge stating that "As President, I will recognize the
Armenian Genocide," President Barack Obama today issued an April
24th statement evading the proper characterization of the Armenian
Genocide, reported the Armenian National Committee of America

ANCA Chairman Ken Hachikian issued the following statement
regarding President Obama's April 24th statement:

"I join with all Armenian Americans in voicing our sharp
disappointment with President Obama's failure to honor his solemn
pledge to recognize the Armenian Genocide."

"In falling short of his repeated and crystal clear promises, which
reflected a thorough knowledge of the facts, the practical
implications, and the profound moral dimension of Armenian Genocide
recognition, the President chose, as a matter of policy, to allow
our nation's stand against genocide to remain a hostage to Turkey's

"The President's statement today represents a retreat from his
pledge and a setback to the vital change he promised to bring about
in how America confronts the crime of genocide."

"Genocide must be confronted unconditionally at the level of
American values and our common humanity. As Americans, we should
never allow the prevention or recognition of this crime to be
reduced to a political issue that can be traded away, retreated
from under pressure, or used to advance a political agenda, of any

"We urge the President to act quickly to correct his
Administration's stand on the Armenian Genocide by properly
condemning and commemorating this crime, removing Turkey's gag-rule
on its recognition by the United States, and working publicly
toward the adoption of the Armenian Genocide Resolution before
Congress," concluded Hachikian

As a Senator and presidential candidate, President Obama pledged
repeatedly to recognize the Armenian Genocide and promised
"unstinting resolve" to end the Darfur Genocide, stating, "America
deserves a leader who speaks truthfully about the Armenian Genocide
and responds forcefully to all genocides. I intend to be that
President." View his record on the issue at:

President Obama's complete statement is provided below.



Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release
April 24, 2009

Statement of President Barack Obama on Armenian Remembrance Day

Ninety four years ago, one of the great atrocities of the 20th
century began. Each year, we pause to remember the 1.5 million
Armenians who were subsequently massacred or marched to their death
in the final days of the Ottoman Empire. The Meds Yeghern must live
on in our memories, just as it lives on in the hearts of the
Armenian people.

History, unresolved, can be a heavy weight. Just as the terrible
events of 1915 remind us of the dark prospect of man's inhumanity
to man, reckoning with the past holds out the powerful promise of
reconciliation. I have consistently stated my own view of what
occurred in 1915, and my view of that history has not changed. My
interest remains the achievement of a full, frank and just
acknowledgment of the facts.

The best way to advance that goal right now is for the Armenian and
Turkish people to address the facts of the past as a part of their
efforts to move forward. I strongly support efforts by the Turkish
and Armenian people to work through this painful history in a way
that is honest, open, and constructive. To that end, there has been
courageous and important dialogue among Armenians and Turks, and
within Turkey itself. I also strongly support the efforts by Turkey
and Armenia to normalize their bilateral relations. Under Swiss
auspices, the two governments have agreed on a framework and
roadmap for normalization. I commend this progress, and urge them
to fulfill its promise.

Together, Armenia and Turkey can forge a relationship that is
peaceful, productive and prosperous. And together, the Armenian and
Turkish people will be stronger as they acknowledge their common
history and recognize their common humanity.

Nothing can bring back those who were lost in the Meds Yeghern. But
the contributions that Armenians have made over the last ninety-
four years stand as a testament to the talent, dynamism and
resilience of the Armenian people, and as the ultimate rebuke to
those who tried to destroy them. The United States of America is a
far richer country because of the many Americans of Armenian
descent who have contributed to our society, many of whom
immigrated to this country in the aftermath of 1915. Today, I stand
with them and with Armenians everywhere with a sense of friendship,
solidarity, and deep respect.


Armenian National Committee of America
1711 N Street, NW
Washington, DC 20036
Tel. (202) 775-1918
Fax. (202) 775-5648