Washington briefing: Key Armenian Caucus members comment on protocols, Genocide resolution

by Emil Sanamyan

Published: Saturday October 17, 2009

The co-chairs of the House Armenian Caucus, Frank Pallone, Jr. (D.-N.J.) and Mark Steven Kirk (R.-Ill.), who commented on the latest developments in Armenia-Turkey relations.

Rep. Adam Schiff (D.-Calif.) at microphone, with Rep. George Radanovich (R.-Calif.), left, and Rep. Frank Pallone, Jr. (D.-N.J.), discussing the Armenian Genocide resolution in January 2007. Armenian Reporter

Washington - Leading advocates of Armenian-American concerns in Congress issued a joint statement that raised concerns with some of the provisions of the Armenia-Turkey protocols, while also reiterating their intention to continue to advocate for a congressional resolution on the Armenian Genocide.

Caucus co-chairs Reps. Frank Pallone (D.-N.J.) and Mark Kirk (R.-Ill.) together with Reps. Adam Schiff (D.-Calif.) and George Radanovich (R.-Calif.), issued a joint statement that "shared the concern of the Armenian-American community regarding the possibility of creating a historical commission to review the events of 1915 to 1923," the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) reported on October 10.

Separately, Mr. Schiff told The Hill newspaper on October 10 that he and his colleagues "intend to push forward with the recognition of the genocide," in spite of the Armenia-Turkey protocols.

House Resolution 252 affirming the U.S. record on the Armenian Genocide was introduced last March with 77 co-sponsors. Its supporters have since gathered 58 additional signatures, with the total co-sponsorship list this week at 135 of the total of 435 House members. It remains unclear when and if the House Foreign Affairs Committee plans to consider the measure.

But as Turkey's ambassador in Washington Nabi Sensoy told The Hill, consideration of the resolution would "have a negative impact on what we are trying do, which is normalization of relations with the Armenians" and that as part of this "normalization . . . historical aspects of the issue will be discussed."

The congressional statement also suggested that "as Secretary of State Clinton and other senior officials work to maintain stability in the region, we urge them to take advantage of the knowledge and expertise of the Armenian-American community."

ANCA also cited Department of Justice records as showing that former Republican Speaker Dennis Hastert and former Democratic Party in Congress Dick Gephardt, both now working for Turkey, have met with both Secretary Hillary Clinton and National Security Advisor Jim Jones.

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