Delegates Meet with Armenian President, Foreign Minister, Government Officials; Discuss Strategy to Promote Armenian Concerns Worldwide

May 9, 2003

Washington, DC – Armenian National Committee of America leaders representing the national, regional and local levels joined with over 130 delegates from 20 countries at a two day conference in Yerevan, Armenia to discuss the political and economic challenges facing the Armenian nation and share regional strategies to promote Armenian issues worldwide.

The ANC World Summit, held on May 6-7 at the Congress Hotel, included presentations by a host of Armenian Government and parliament officials, including Armenian Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian and President Robert Kocharian’s Chief of Staff, Artashes Tumanian. Oskanian praised the ongoing efforts of the Armenian National Committee worldwide to seek proper recognition and justice for the Armenian Genocide and assist in the political and economic development of Armenia and Nagorno Karabagh. The ANC is “an organization that has brought the national interests of Armenians to the forefront and defended them devotedly.” According to Oskanian, “It was the Armenian National Committee that kept the Armenian Case alive for decades and today Armenia, as an independent state, has inherited that which has been preserved by the ANC and will continue those efforts.” Following a detailed presentation, Foreign Minister Oskanian answered a host questions from attendees.

Tumanian stressed the Kocharian Administration’s commitment to seeking international recognition for the Armenian Genocide, noting that the President considers the issue a key foreign policy priority for the country. Pointing out the growing number of countries who have recognized the Genocide during the past several years, Tumanian stated that, “this is the greatest example of how the efforts and potential of Armenia and the Diaspora can be consolidated.”

ANC delegates discussed a range of foreign and domestic policy concerns as well as national security challenges with Minister of Urban Planning David Lokian, Parliament National Security Committee Chairman Vahan Hovhanesian and Foreign Relations Committee Vice-Chairman Armen Rustamian.

ANCA representatives participating in the Conference included ANCA Chairman Ken Hachikian, Executive Director Aram Hamparian; ANCA Western Region Board Members Steve Dadaian and Souzi Zerounian Khanzadian as well as Thomas Azaian, Chairman of the ANC East San Fernando Valley, CA chapter; ANCA Eastern Region Director Arin Gregorian, ANC Eastern Mass. Chairman Ivan Ardhaldjian, as well as Antranig Kasbarian and John Avedissian representing the ARF Eastern Region Central Committee.

ANC Leaders Discuss Foreign Policy, Economic Issues with Pres. Kocharian
Armenian President Robert Kocharian welcomed a delegation of ANC leaders from countries including the U.S., European Union, Canada, Russia, Australia, and Lebanon and outlined several key policy issues during an hour-long meeting held on May 7th. The President cited the key role the ANC has played in securing international recognition of the Armenian Genocide as well assisting the political and economic development of Armenia. ANC members updated the President about Diasporan efforts in support of Armenia and exchanged ideas regarding the implementation of new initiatives in the upcoming year.

ANC Representatives Discuss Advocacy Efforts in U.S., Europe and Russia
On the day preceding the Conference, ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian, European Armenian Federation for Justice and Democracy (formerly ANC-Europe) Chairwoman Hilda Tchoboian and ANC Moscow Executive Director Seyran Bagdassarian joined with Armenian Parliamentarian Armen Rustamian in outlining ANC activities in each region. Hamparian discussed ongoing efforts to secure U.S. recognition of the Armenian Genocide and the recent introduction of H.Res.193 – legislation marking the 15th anniversary of the U.S. implementation of the U.N. Genocide Convention. He noted efforts defending the right to self-determination of the people of Nagorno Karabagh and vigilance monitoring U.S. military assistance to Azerbaijan. He went on to note the range of initiatives aimed to assist the economic development of Armenia including grassroots campaigns to maintain U.S. foreign assistance levels to Armenia at $90 million; legislation granting permanent normalized trade relations status to Armenia; as well as, plans to finalize a U.S.- Armenia tax treaty and social security agreement, among others.

In discussing ANC activities in Europe, Tchoboian explained that EAFJD works with all entities of the European Union and the European Commission. “Our efforts are not just aimed at the recognition of the Armenian Genocide in a narrow sense, but also concentrate on issues of democracy and stability in the Caucasus region. They are intertwined, and we do not look at the issue of genocide as an issue of the past, bust as a fundamental matter that absolutely conditions present politics.”

ANC Moscow director Seyran Baghdassarian outlined the ANC’s efforts in Russia, noting that following the Russian Duma recognition of the Armenian Genocide in 1995, efforts are now geared toward educating the populace about the tragedy through various programs such as the inclusion of the Genocide in school curricula. Baghdassarian also noted ongoing work to keep Russian legislators abreast of the Nagorno Karabagh issue and steps to attain Genocide recognition in neighboring CIS countries.


For Immediate Release
Media Contact: Elizabeth S. Chouldjian
Email / Tel: (202) 775-1918
Armenian National Committee of America
888 17th Street, NW, Suite 904, Washington, DC 20006
Tel. (202) 775-1918 * Fax. (202) 775-5648 *
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