April 23, 2004
For Immediate Release
Contact: Elizabeth S. Chouldjian
tel: (202) 775-1918

TWENTY-TWO U.S. SENATORS CALL ON PRESIDENT BUSH TO PROPERLY CHARACTERIZE ARMENIAN GENOCIDE

Senators Join with 169 U.S. Representatives in Record-Setting Congressional Effort

WASHINGTON, DC – Twenty-two U.S. Senators joined with week with one hundred and sixty-nine Members of the House of Representatives in calling upon President Bush to honor his campaign pledge to properly recognize the Armenian Genocide, reported the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA).

In an April 19th letter to the President, initiated by Senators Jon Corzine (D-NJ) and John Ensign (R-NV), the bi-partisan group of legislators “respectfully request that you [the President] refer to the mass slaughter of Armenians as genocide in your commemorative statement. This would constitute a proud, irrefutable and groundbreaking chapter in U.S. diplomatic history.”

“We want to thank Senator’s Corzine and Ensign for initiating this letter and to express our appreciation to Senator John Kerry and each of the other Senators who joined together in urging the President to properly commemorate the Armenian Genocide,” said Aram Hamparian, Executive Director of the ANCA. “We look forward to working with each of these Senators, all of whom are supporting the Genocide Resolution – S.Res.164 – to secure the passage of this human rights legislation.”

Joining Senators Corzine and Ensign were Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Norm Coleman (R-MN), Susan Collins (R-ME), Christopher Dodd (D-CT), Richard Durbin (D-IL), Russell Feingold (D-WI), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), James Jeffords (I-VT), Edward Kennedy (D-MA), John Kerry (D-MA), Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ), Joseph Lieberman (D-CT), Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), Jack Reed (D-RI), Rick Santorum (R-PA), Paul Sarbanes (D-MD), Olympia Snowe (R-ME), and Debbie Stabenow (D-MI).

Combined, the one hundred and ninety-one Representatives and Senators represents a record number of legislators calling on President Bush to properly recognize the Armenian Genocide

The House letter, sent earlier this week, was circulated by Armenian Caucus Co-Chairmen Joe Knollenberg (R-MI) and Frank Pallone (D-NJ), as well as Congressional Genocide resolution lead sponsors Representatives George Radanovich (R-CA) and Adam Schiff (D-CA). In the letter, the 169 Congressional co-signers noted to Pres. Bush that “by properly recognizing the atrocities committed against the Armenian people as ‘genocide’ in your statement, you will honor the many Americans who helped launch our first international human rights campaign to end the carnage and protect the survivors.”

During his 2000 presidential campaign, President Bush had referred to the “genocidal campaign” perpetrated against the Armenian people and pledged to properly characterize that tragedy when elected President. Neither the President’s 2001, 2002, nor his 2003 April 24th statements have honored that pledge. Last year over 165 U.S. Representatives signed a similar letter to the President.

Genocide resolutions in the House and Senate that mark the 15th anniversary of the U.S. implementation of the United Nations Convention on the Punishment and Prevention of Genocide have received broad bipartisan support. House legislation (H.Res.193), which mentions the horrors of the Armenian Genocide as well as the Holocaust and the Cambodian and Rwanda tragedies, was unanimously adopted by the Judiciary Committee last May and currently has 110 cosponsors. A similar measure (S.Res.164) introduced in the Senate by Senators John Ensign (R-NV) and Jon Corzine (D-NJ) currently has 38 cosponsors.

The State Department is officially on record against the Genocide Resolution.

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