Rejecting Turkey’s Armenian Genocide Gag-Rule:
Proper U.S. recognition of the Armenian Genocide as a clear case of genocide would represent a long overdue break with the practice of past Presidents who – since the principled stand taken by President Reagan in 1981 – have sadly given in to pressure from the Turkish government, resorting to euphemisms and evasive terminology to describe this crime against humanity. No foreign government has the right to impose a gag-rule on America, to exercise veto against our U.S. President, or to demand that America compromise our international moral leadership.
The historical record – including our own U.S. archives – document that the Ottoman Empire, between 1915 and 1923, intentionally and systematically undertook the genocidal destruction of its Christian minorities. Millions of Armenians, Assyrians, Chaldeans, Greeks, Pontians, Syriacs, and other Christians were murdered and millions more were forced into exile from their biblical-era homelands. The American people and government played a major role in caring for the survivors of this crime, many of whom eventually found safe haven in America. Sadly, the world today is, once again, witnessing similar atrocities, in this very same region, committed by ISIS and other extremists, against Christians, Yezidis, and other religious minorities.
Appropriate and accurate remembrance of the Armenian Genocide would reaffirm past U.S. recognition of this crime, including the Eisenhower Administration’s 1951 submission to the International Court of Justice, President Ronald Reagan’s 1981 Proclamation (No. 4838), and legislation adopted by the U.S. House of Representatives, HJR148 adopted (April 8, 1975) and HJR247 (September 10, 1984). More broadly, an honest reckoning with the Armenian Genocide – by the United States and eventually by Turkey itself – will contribute to the reduction of regional tensions and create opportunities for the sustainable development of Armenian-Turkish relations. It is in this spirit of peace and justice, and in the hopes that our nation will stand up to foreign pressure on this human rights issue, that the ANCA calls on the Trump Administration to accurately and explicitly condemn and commemorate the Armenian Genocide.
Supporting a Peaceful Resolution in Artsakh (Nagorno Karabakh):
The United States can contribute meaningfully to the cause of peace and the global progress of democratic self-determination by extending formal recognition of the independent Artsakh (Nagorno Karabakh) Republic and taking steps – including the provision of defensive arms and increased developmental assistance – to ensure Artsakh’s security in the face of continued Azerbaijani aggression.
The Trump Administration should, as an urgent matter, strengthen the 1994 cease-fire by forcefully challenging Azerbaijan’s escalation of military aggression, ensuring Artsakh’s full participation in all negotiations, and overcoming Azerbaijan’s efforts to obstruct implementation of the Royce-Engel proposals. These three common sense proposals call for the:
1) Non-deployment of snipers and heavy arms near the line-of-contact;
2) Addition of OSCE observers along the line-of-contact, and;
3) Deployment of gunfire locators along the line-of-contact.
U.S. recognition of Artsakh, along with a stable cease-fire, will help foster a conducive environment for a peaceful, negotiated settlement that – durably and democratically – resolves outstanding security and status issues related to the Artsakh Republic.
Growing the U.S.-Armenia Economic Relationship:
U.S. interests would be served by policies aimed at expanding U.S.-Armenia ties, particularly in terms of our economic relationship and military partnership. More broadly, the Trump Administration should promote policies that support a secure, prosperous, democratic Armenia, increasingly anchored in the democratic world, integrated into the global economy, and actively contributing to the security and progress of the international community.
Building upon the 2015 signing of a bilateral U.S.-Armenia Trade and Investment Framework Agreement, the Trump Administration should:
1) Negotiate a Tax Treaty eliminating the threat of double taxation of firms operating in both jurisdictions;
2) Extend a new Millennium Challenge Account compact with Armenia that funds STEM education, and;
3) support the launch of direct Los Angeles to Yerevan flights, strengthening the travel and commercial connection between our two nations.
In terms of our international assistance programs, the Trump Administration should budget increased direct aid to Artsakh and Armenia, with a special focus on robust funding to help Armenia settle at-risk refugees from the Middle East.
Helping Armenia complete its Aid-to-Trade transition will save U.S. tax dollars, creating jobs in both countries, reinforcing Armenian independence in the face of pressure from regional powers, and strengthening America’s constructive engagement and enduring friendship with the Armenian people.