Washington briefing: Sen. McCain: Armenian Genocide “amply documented”

by Emil Sanamyan

Published: Friday November 13, 2009

Senator John McCain.

Washington - "I believe that genocide was committed against the Armenian people, I think there is ample documentation of that," Sen. John McCain (R.-Ariz.), the former GOP presidential candidate, told the Voice of America (VoA) Georgian service on November 9. A recording of the interview was made available by VoA's Armenian service.

Sen. McCain further noted that the Armenian government, "while not forgetting the past," was seeking a "gradual improvement with Turkey" and that he supported "progress in Turkey-Armenia relations."

Also on November 9, Mr. McCain spoke at Washington's Johns Hopkins University during which he criticized the Russian occupation of the former Georgian autonomies of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, and urged the Obama Administration to more actively challenge Russia's approach. He voiced similar criticisms in his interview with the VoA.

On several previous occasions, the senator from Arizona has acknowledged the Armenian Genocide while opposing congressional resolutions on the subject.

In a conference call with online media on October 11, 2007, Sen. McCain was asked about a resolution on the Armenian Genocide then pending before a congressional committee.

While he referred to the Armenian Genocide as "among the great genocides in human history," Sen. McCain opposed the resolution, suggesting that Congress should focus on contemporary developments.

In an earlier instance, while campaigning for GOP presidential nomination in Fresno, Calif. on February 29, 2000, Sen. McCain said that he had "deep sympathy for one of the greatest acts of genocide ever committed," the local Hye Sharzhoom newspaper reported, citing a KJEO Channel 47 broadcast.

But Sen. McCain also argued that modern Turkey should not be held responsible for what happened and that he therefore opposed a congressional resolution on the subject.

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Aleppo citadel - site of the AGBU celebration in Oct. 2008 (pictured) - is now in ruins. AGBU

Calendar of Events

The uncertain fate of Armenian communities in the Middle East and particularly in Aleppo will be discussed on Sept. 29 in LA and Oct. 9 in Boston; for details about these and other upcoming Armenian happenings in America consult the Calendar of Events.