ANCA Praises Schiff Amendment

Armenian National Committee of America-Western Region
104 North Belmont Street, Suite 200
Glendale, CA 91206

Phone: 818.500.1918
Fax: 818.246.7353

[email protected]

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Contact: Ardashes Kassakhian


Armenian-Americans Activists Criticize Congressional Leaders for
Capitulating to a Foreign Government

Los Angeles, CA – A powerful coalition of Armenian Americans expressed
their strong support over the weekend for Congressman Adam Schiff who
authored an Armenian Genocide Amendment that was passed by the
U.S. House of Representatives last week, announced the Armenian
National Committee of America-Western Region (ANCA-WR). The Amendment
prevents Turkey from spending U.S. foreign aid dollars against
legislation pending in Congress that recognizes the Armenian Genocide.

`Our ANC chapters stand united with Congressman Schiff in his effort
to ensure that U.S. taxpayer dollars are not used by Turkey to deny
the Armenian Genocide,’ commented ANCA-WR Executive Director Ardashes
Kassakhian. `Our local ANC chapters stand ready to fight the stated
intention of the Republican Leadership in Congress and the White House
to strike the Schiff Amendment language when the foreign aid bill goes
to conference,’ he added.

Kassakhian referred to the joint statement by House Speaker Dennis
Hastert (R-IL), House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-TX) and House
Majority Whip Roy Blunt (R-MO). The Republican Leadership released a
statement that read:`We are strongly opposed to the Schiff
Amendmentâ=80¦ we will insist that conferees drop that provision in
conference. We have contacted the Bush Administration, and they have
indicated their strong oppositionâ=80¦ Turkey has been a reliable ally
of the United States for decadesâ=80¦ our mutual economic and security
relationship rests should not be disrupted by this amendment. Our
relationship with Turkey is too important to us to allow it to be in
any way damaged by a poorly crafted and ultimately meaningless
amendment. Furthermore, we have no intention of scheduling
H. Res. 193… during the remainder of this Congress.’

`Ronald Reagan was the last President to properly commemorate the
Armenian Genocide,’ explained Burbank ANC Chair Peter Musurlian. `The
late President- a hero to many Armenian American Republicans-would be
ashamed at what is taking place on Capitol Hill, with the House
leadership’s refusal to allow a vote on moral clarity.’

Glendale ANC Chair Pierre Charaghchian added, `The opposition to the
Schiff Amendment by Republican leaders in Congress is sad. Sad
because it shows how much influence the Republic of Turkey, a foreign
government, has over some Members of Congress.’

The leaders of the Burbank, Glendale, Pasadena and La Crescenta
Armenian National Committee chapters praised Schiff for successfully
securing passage of his amendment. The Schiff Amendment was adopted
by voice vote during consideration of the House Foreign Operations
Appropriations Bill for Fiscal Year 2005 on Thursday, July 15, 2004.
The foreign aid bill was later passed bya vote of 365 to 41.

`Armenian Americans in Pasadena are proud to have Congressman Schiff
spearhead the effort to properly recognize the first Genocide of the
20th Century,’ stressed Pasadena ANC Chair Shahan Stepanian. `We are
ready to mobilize the community and ensure that the Amendment passes
through the joint House-Senate Conference Committee.’

`It is unfortunate that our Congressional leaders fail to demonstrate
moral clarity on the issue of genocide recognition and prevention.
Eventually, public policy will catch up to the truth and we will not
let a few select politicians change America’s proud response to the
Armenian Genocide,’ stated La Crescenta ANC Chair Sarkis Tchakian.

The Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) is the largest and
most influential Armenian American grassroots political organization.
Working in coordination with a network of offices, chapters, and
supporters throughout the United States and affiliated organizations
around the world, the ANCA actively advances the concerns and
interests of the Armenian American community.

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