Armenian Caucus Co-Chairs’ Joint Letter To Secretary Rice StressesIm


WASHINGTON, March 22 (Noyan Tapan). Congressional Caucus on Armenian
Issues Co-Chairs Joe Knollenberg (R-MI) and Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ)
expressed to U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice their support
of recent affirmations of the Armenian Genocide by leading U.S.
officials. According to the Armenian Assembly of America, in a joint
letter sent to Secretary Rice on March 18, the Co-Chairs declared
their support for remarks made by U.S. Ambassador to Armenia John Evans
who publicly stated, “The Armenian Genocide was the first genocide of
the twentieth century.” The Co-Chairs also noted former Ambassador to
Armenia Harry Gilmore’s comments to the media that the crimes against
the Armenians do indeed constitute genocide. Knollenberg and Pallone
explain in their letter that both Evans’ and Gilmore’s comments are
in keeping with the past statements of Presidents Ronald Reagan in
1981 and George Bush, who in 2001 employed the textbook definition
of the Genocide in his April 24 remarks to the Armenian-American
community. Additionally, the Co-Chairs reason that the U.S. National
Archives contain thousands of pages documenting the crimes and that
over 120 renowned Genocide and Holocaust scholars have proclaimed the
Armenian Genocide as an “incontestable historical fact.” Furthermore,
the letter also references the findings of a key legal study
backed by the State Department. That study, by the International
Center for Transitional Justice, concluded that: “The Events, viewed
collectively, can thus be said to include all of the elements of the
crime of genocide as defined in the Convention, and legal scholars
as well as historians, politicians, journalists and other people
would be justified in continuing to so describe them.” In other news,
Knollenberg and Pallone are asking their colleagues to sign on to a
letter urging President Bush to honor the United States’ historic
leadership in defending human rights and to properly characterize
the Armenian Genocide as such in his remembrance statement next
month. Over 80 Members of Congress have signed on to this letter,
however, many more signatures are needed in order to make an impact.