Letter Urging Members of Congress to Co-Sponsor the Armenian Genocide Resolution (H.Res.296)
I am writing to ask you to join with over 100 of your U.S. House colleagues as a cosponsor the Armenian Genocide Resolution (H.Res.296), a bipartisan measure calling for the U.S. to properly and permanently commemorate this crime against humanity.
Your support for H.Res.296 will distance America from Turkey’s shameful campaign of genocide denial, helping to ensure that the lessons of this mass murder are used to prevent future atrocities.
Despite past U.S. recognition of the Armenian Genocide – by the White House and the U.S. House – successive Administrations have, since 1981, buckled under pressure from Ankara. Rather than standing up for the truth, American Presidents have resorted to evasive terminology and offensive euphemisms to avoid having to deal with Turkey’s irrational sensitivities regarding any truthful discussion of the Armenian Genocide. By so obviously and publicly caving-in to foreign pressure on a known case of genocide, we compromise our international standing on issues of human rights, religious freedom, and genocide prevention.
The stakes are clear: No nation – particularly one as anti-American and undemocratic as today’s Turkey – deserves a veto over U.S. policy.
There should be no exceptions to America’s opposition to genocide. That is our legal obligation under the Genocide Convention and our ethical obligation as Americans.
Strong and sustained American condemnation of this crime will hold great meaning for the descendants of all its victims, including millions of Armenians, Assyrians, Chaldeans, Greeks, Pontians, Syriacs, Arameans, Maronites and other Christians, many of whom, as you know, found safe haven here in the United States.
My family and I are eager to hear about your co-sponsorship of this legislation and about any other actions or votes you take on this matter.
Letter Urging Members of Congress to Co-Sponsor the Artsakh Travel and Communication Resolution (H.Res.190)
I join with friends, family, and the local Armenian American community in encouraging you to cosponsor and also work for passage of the Artsakh Travel and Communication Resolution (H.Res.190), a pro-peace measure that seeks to remove barriers to direct dialogue between the United States and the Republic of Artsakh.
Dialogue represents the cornerstone of American diplomacy and the key to the peaceful resolution of conflicts in Artsakh and around the world. Sadly, however, successive U.S. administrations have allowed the Azerbaijani government to dictate the terms of American discourse with the stakeholders of the Artsakh peace process. For far too long, the United States has granted Baku an undeserved veto over direct U.S. dialogue with Artsakh, at the expense of U.S. interests and contrary to our core American commitment to peace among all nations.
This bipartisan resolution advances U.S. interests by removing artificial, outdated, and obsolete barriers to travel and communications between America and Artsakh. Its aim is to promote peace, stability, and democratic development in the Caucasus region. This resolution would also facilitate improved U.S. oversight of our aid program in Artsakh, while, more broadly, providing opportunities for U.S. policymakers to witness first-hand the progress of this proud republic and the challenges its people face as they seek a fair and lasting peace with Azerbaijan. The measure would specifically stipulate that the House of Representatives:
1) Affirms its commitment to supporting actions that encourage visits and communication between officials from the United States and Artsakh at all levels, including cabinet-level national security officials, general officers, and other executive branch officials, to travel to Artsakh and openly and directly communicate with their Artsakh counterparts;
2) Encourages open communication, meetings, and other direct contacts between officials of Artsakh and the executive and legislative branches of the United States, representatives of State and local governments, and representatives of American civil society; and
3) Calls for the full and direct participation of the democratically-elected Government of the Republic of Artsakh in all OSCE and other negotiations regarding its future.
As our diplomats know so well, there is, very simply, no substitute for direct dialogue or on-the-ground presence. Self-imposed restrictions, unilateral gag-rules, irrational travel bans, or senseless diplomatic no-go zones are self-defeating, unwisely and unnecessarily handicapping U.S. foreign policy practitioners just when we need to be stepping up our global diplomatic leadership.
I encourage you to co-sponsor and work for the timely passage of the Artsakh Travel and Communication Resolution (H.Res.190), and look forward to hearing from you regarding the actions you take on this matter.