Visit NK and recognize Genocide, ANCA tells Clinton ahead of her Caucasus visit
Published: Tuesday June 05, 2012
Washington - Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is set to travel to the Caucasus from June 4 to 7 to discuss issues of regional security, democracy, economic development and counter-terrorism.
She will visit Armenia on June 4th, Georgia on June 5th, and Azerbaijan on June 6th, prior to traveling to Turkey for meetings on June 7th. For more details about Secretary Clinton's travel schedule in the Caucasus, visit http://www.state.gov/secretary/trvl/2012/191056.htm
The Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) has suggested ten steps that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton should undertake during her upcoming visit to the Caucasus region to advance U.S. interests, promote American values, and strengthen the Obama Administration's diplomatic standing in a pivotal region of strategic importance.
1) A public announcement by Secretary Clinton that President Obama, after more than three years in office, will finally honor his promises to recognize the Armenian Genocide and to support the proper recognition of this crime by the U.S. Congress.
2) An official visit to the Armenian Genocide memorial, during which she honors her own pledges to recognize the Armenian Genocide, renounces her assertion that the Armenian Genocide is a matter for "historical debate," and asserts that the Administration will no longer use the failed Turkey-Armenia Protocols as an excuse for complicity in Ankara's genocide denial.
3) A clear statement distancing the U.S. from a recent NATO declaration prioritizing the principle of territorial integrity over self-determination in settling the status of Nagorno Karabakh, and a commitment to strike, from a recently released State Department report, the false assertion that Nagorno Karabakh is a part of Azerbaijan, a Baku-backed claim that is directly at odds with President Obama's pledge to work towards a durable settlement "based upon America's founding commitment to the principles of democracy and self determination."
4) A public retreat from the Administration's proposed 19% cut in economic and democracy-building aid to Armenia, and a pledge to both work with Congressional appropriators to honor the President's promise to "maintain" aid levels to Armenia, and also to allocate all unexpended aid that Congress has intended for Nagorno Karabakh.
5) A joint declaration with the Armenian government, in the spirit of President Obama's promise to foster stronger U.S.-Armenia economic relations, announcing talks to implement bilateral trade and investment initiatives, including a Trade and Investment Framework Agreement, a Double Tax Treaty, and a Free Trade Agreement.
6) A strong stand, during her visit to Azerbaijan, against the Aliyev regime's escalating pattern of threats and renewed aggression against Nagorno Karabakh, and a public announcement that the White House will not waive Section 907 of the FREEDOM Support Act as long as Baku fails to commit to a peaceful resolution of its conflict with Nagorno Karabakh.
7) A withdrawal of the Administration's support, in light of Baku's ongoing threats and acts of aggression, for the sale or transfer of any and all arms or dual-use items to Azerbaijan, including the controversial pending sale of advanced helicopter-based sensing equipment.
8) A visit to investigate the medieval Armenian cemetery in Djulfa, Nakhichevan, the site of thousands of intricate Armenian stone crosses (khatchkars) systematically destroyed by the Azerbaijani military in December of 2005, as documented on video-tape.
9) A public expression of U.S. support, during her trip to Georgia, for targeted U.S. economic, development, and infrastructure assistance programs and public-private partnerships for the Armenian-populated Javakhk region of Georgia.
10) A trip to Stepanakert to demonstrate support for the OSCE Minsk Group peace process, to press for the reinstatement of the Republic of Nagorno Karabakh as a full participant in all negotiations, and to underscore America's longstanding and proud tradition of supporting the right of all peoples to democratic self-determination.
From the State Department:
Secretary Clinton honors rights advocates
U.S. Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, joined the U.S. Embassy, Counterpart International, the British Embassy, the OSCE, and the EU to honor individuals working to promote human rights, accountable governance, and free speech in Armenia at the Universal Rights Awards Ceremony at the U.S. Embassy in Yerevan.
Secretary Clinton delivered remarks at the event and met privately with the award recipients. The Universal Rights Awards Ceremony was the first multi-mission initiative to highlight the contributions of Armenia's civil rights activists, government officials, and media representatives to the promotion of human rights. Armenian government officials, foreign diplomats, NGO representatives, and the press attended the event.
USAID/Armenia Mission Director, Jatinder Cheema, opened the ceremony and awarded Artur Sakunts with the Freedom Defender Award. "Artur defends all minorities, especially those that are the target of intolerance, such as ethnic, religious, and sexual minorities. He is not afraid to take unpopular stances, working constantly for a more tolerant Armenia," said Director Cheema.
Counterpart International's Chief of Party, Alex Sardar, presented the Woman of Courage Award to Tsovinar Nazaryan for her military reform efforts. "Tsovinar should be proud of her role in encouraging the military to embrace reform, which will lead to a more modern, effective, and humane force for Armenia," Mr. Sardar said.
The British Ambassador to Armenia, Jonathan Aves, recognized the Deputy Chief of Police, Major-General Artur Osikyan, for his contributions to police reform, especially regarding improvements to the police educational system. "Artur Osikyan has helped lay the foundation for transparent and accountable police force that works for the citizens of Armenia," Ambassador Aves said.