Washington, DC – On Thursday, April 12, 2007, over one hundred Illinois residents had an opportunity to hear Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) speak out on the importance of recognizing the Armenian Genocide, reported the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA).
The Senator’s remarks were offered at a weekly Washington, DC “breakfast briefing,” an Illinois tradition started more than a decade ago by the late Sen. Paul Simon (D-IL). At the briefings, the Praire State’s two Senators, Obama and Assistant Majority Leader Richard Durbin (D-IL), have the opportunity to field questions from constituents on a variety of issues.
Taking part in the breakfast briefing were ANCA Eastern Region Executive Director Karine Birazian and ANCA Legislative Affairs Director Raffi N. Karakashian, Esq. On several occasions over the past four years, Birazian, a Northbrook native, has attended the briefings on behalf of the Armenian National Committee of Illinois and has questioned her Senators on matters of importance to the state’s Armenian American community.
When invited to ask a question, Birazian thanked Senator Durbin for spearheading the Armenian Genocide Resolution, S.Res.106, as well as leading the effort to pass targeted divestment legislation relating to Darfur. Birazian also encourage Senator Obama to cosponsor S.Res.106. In his response, Senator Obama stated: “For those who aren’t aware, there was a genocide that did take place against the Armenian people. It is one of these situations where we have seen a constant denial on the part of the Turkish Government and others that this occurred. It has become a sore spot diplomatically. . .”
Following the meeting, Birazian commented: “Armenian Americans in Illinois and across the nation look forward to Senator Obama becoming a cosponsor of S. Res.106. His principled stand on genocide recognition is honorable, and as a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, his support of the legislation would help ensure that it moves quickly to the floor for a vote of the full Senate.”
The Armenian Genocide Resolution, S. Res. 106, was introduced this past February by Assistant Majority Leader Richard Durbin (D-IL) and Sen. John Ensign (R-NV), and calls upon the President to ensure that the foreign policy of the United States reflects appropriate understanding and sensitivity concerning issues related to human rights, ethnic cleansing, and genocide documented in the United States record relating to the Armenian Genocide. To date, over one quarter of the U.S. Senate, 27 senators, have cosponsored the bill.