August 29, 2005
For Immediate Release
Contact: Elizabeth S. Chouldjian
tel: (202) 775-1918

CHENEY FAILS TO EXPLAIN LETTER RECOGNIZING ARMENIAN GENOCIDE

Vice President Sidesteps Query from Twenty-two Members of Congress Regarding Reason for Letter to Genocide Survivor

WASHINGTON, DC – Vice President Dick Cheney has sidestepped a Congressional request for clarification regarding the reasons behind his forthright – although apparently mistaken – characterization of the Armenian Genocide in letter sent this April to survivor Maritza Ohanessian, reported the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA).

In an April 22nd letter to Mrs. Ohanessian on the occasion of her 100th birthday, the Vice President had properly described the Armenian Genocide, a departure from the Administration’s standard practice of using evasive or euphemistic terminology to downplay the true historical, legal, and contemporary geopolitical implications of this crime against humanity. The letter was first reported in the Armenian Mirror-Spectator. In response to this letter, Congressman Steve Rothman (D-NJ) and twenty-one of his House colleagues asked the Vice President if this letter represented a formal shift in the Administration’s policy. The Vice President’s response, signed by his Principal Deputy for National Security Affairs John P. Hannah, simply notes that, “There has been no change in Administration policy on this issue,” without any articulation of the nature of the policy.

“The Vice President should explain to Mrs. Ohanesian and all Armenian Americans why he sent this letter recognizing the Armenian Genocide but cannot now stand behind his words or even offer an explanation for his reversal,” said ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian. “We appreciate Congressman Rothman’s leadership on this issue and want to thank all those who joined with him in this effort.”

Joining Congressman Rothman as signatories to the June 23rd Congressional letter were Representatives Rob Andrews (D-NJ), Lois Capps (D-CA), Joe Crowley (D-NY), Anna Eshoo (D-CA), Barney Frank (D-MA), Patrick Kennedy (D-RI), Mark Steven Kirk (R-IL), Sander Levin (D-MI), Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), Thaddeus McCotter (R-MI), James McGovern (D-MA), Michael McNulty (D-NY), Richard Neal (D-MA), Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ), George Radanovich (R-CA), Adam Schiff (D-CA), Brad Sherman (D-CA), Mark Souder (R-IN), John Tierney (D-MA), Edolphus Towns (D-NY), and Peter Visclosky (D-IN).

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