Sargsyan Scheduled to Lay a Wreath at President Woodrow Wilson’s Tomb; Meet with Armenian Genocide Survivors Prior to Meetings with President Obama and Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan

April 11, 2010

WASHINGTON, DC – On the eve of Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan’s visit to Washington, DC for the Nuclear Summit, leading Armenian civic, religious and social service organizations have called on the Armenian leader to urge President Barack Obama to honor his pledge to recognize the Armenian Genocide and reject Turkish government efforts to use the Turkey-Armenia Protocols to delay international affirmation of this crime against humanity, reported the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA).

The April 9th letter cited the Armenian American community’s ongoing efforts to secure U.S. recognition of the Armenian Genocide, including the recent House Foreign Affairs Committee favorable consideration of the Armenian Genocide Resolution (H.Res.252). This measure passed the panel with a vote of 23-22, despite strong opposition from the Turkish Government and a last minute attack from the Obama Administration. The letter noted broad-based community outrage over the use of the Turkey-Armenia Protocols by opponents of this legislation serving on the Committee, and, more broadly, by those seeking to block U.S. support for a truthful and just resolution of the Armenian Genocide.

The letter goes on to urge President Sargsyan to stand by his own words against the misuse of a so-called “historical commission” to call into question the Armenian Genocide, and also to directly call upon President Obama and other international leaders to recognize the Armenian Genocide. The signatories pressed the Armenian President to announce that the Turkey-Armenia Protocol discussions cannot continue “given Turkey’s unconstructive and antagonistic posture” throughout the process.

The translated text of the letter is provided below. The official Armenian text can be viewed on Asbarez.com at: http://www.asbarez.com/arm/archives/75958

During his April 12-13th visit to Washington, DC, President Sargsyan will join with Armenian Genocide survivors and Armenian Americans at the tomb of U.S. President Woodrow Wilson, sending a powerful message about both America’s legacy of support for the Armenian Cause, as well as the enduring commitment of all Armenians to a truthful and just resolution of Turkey’s still unpunished crime against the Armenian nation.

A wreath-laying ceremony, scheduled for Monday, April 12th at 11:00am, will include blessings by Armenian American clergy including: His Eminence Archbishop Oshagan Choloyan, Prelate of the Armenian Apostolic Church of Eastern U.S.; His Eminence Archbishop Khajag Barsamian, Primate of the Diocese of the Armenian Apostolic Church of Eastern U.S., and His Eminence Bishop Manuel Batakian, Third Exarch of the Armenian Catholic Church of America.

The ceremony will be followed by the presentation of a letter from Genocide survivors to the President and remarks by the President.

During his trip to Washington, DC, President Sargsyan is scheduled to meet with both President Barack Obama and also with Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan. The visit, on the eve of the April 24th international commemoration of the Armenian Genocide, presents the U.S. President with an opportunity to honor his pledge to properly recognize this crime, and the Turkish Prime Minister a chance to announce that his country is lifting its illegal blockade of Armenia and abandoning its campaign to deny the Armenian Genocide. Discussions between the three leaders will also focus on the Turkey-Armenia Protocols, widely seen as a process initiated by Turkey to extend U.S. silence on the Armenian Genocide from one April 24th to the next.


Translated Text of Armenian American Community Letter to President Serzh Sargsyan

April 9, 2010

The Honorable Serzh Sargsyan
President of the Republic Of Armenia
Yerevan Armenia

Dear Mr. President:

As one of the Armenian Diaspora’s largest and most organized communities, Armenian-Americans for decades have been carrying the torch of Armenian Genocide recognition and the restoration of our historical rights.

As you well know, one of the latest successes of this long struggle was the passage of the Genocide Resolution (H.Res.252) in the US House Foreign Affairs Committee. This was not an easy victory. Many Members of Congress used the excuse of not jeopardizing the Armeno-Turkish reconciliation process to escape from supporting this resolution.

It is imperative that the Armenian people — of Diaspora and Homeland — along with the government, present a common front when facing such destructive obstacles in our path of international Armenian Genocide recognition, which will only serve to restore our rights.

On April 12-13, 2010, you will be present at the Nuclear Security Summit to be held in Washington, DC.

We therefore call on you, Honorable President, to bolster the hard work of Armenian-Americans by using this opportunity to publicly appreciate the passage of House Res. 252, and the Congressmen who voted for its passage; you will thereby send a message to the whole world by emphasizing the importance of internationalization of Armenian Genocide recognition, based on the following principles:

1 – The intergovernmental commission designed to promote “historical reconciliation” cannot question the historical fact of the Armenian Genocide. Quoting from your remarks in the April 4, 2010 issue of Der Spiegel: “The creation of such a commission will undermine the historical facts of the Armenian Genocide. That is unacceptable for us. The creation of such a commission would only have a meaning if Turkey confessed to its crime. At that point, scientists could analyze the reasons for this horror.”

2 – The dialogue between Armenia and Turkey and the signed protocols cannot be used as an excuse to derail the Armenian Genocide recognition process. Quoting from your remarks in Der Zor on March 24, 2010: “We do not accept the usage of Armeno-Turkish rapprochement as an excuse to escape from the recognition of the Genocide.”

3 – Call on the US President and the international community to officially recognize the Armenian Genocide. As you have said, “America, Europe, Germany, and all other governments that are involved in the Armeno-Turkish reconciliation process should announce their position publicly. If all these governments had recognized the Genocide, Turks would not make such pronouncements.”

4 – And finally, we hope and expect — considering the hardening and threatening posture of Turkey — that while in Washington, you will announce that the process between Armenia and Turkey that has begun with these signed protocols cannot continue because of Turkey’s unconstructive and antagonistic posture.

We are certain that our plea will be echoed. We believe that, as Armenia’s President, following Der Zor and Yerevan, you will continue to call for justice in memory of the Armenian martyrs, in Washington also.

Armenian-Americans, with our aim of strengthening our nation, will continue our efforts to preserve our homeland’s national security and future prosperity. It is our expectation that the President of Armenia and the Armenian government stand with the Diaspora by utilizing your government’s powers in the effort toward the recognition of the Armenian Genocide and the just resolution our cause.

We look forward to your strong presentation in Washington, DC.

Armenian Evangelical Union of North America
Apostolic Exarchate for Armenian Catholics
Eastern Prelacy of the Armenian Apostolic Church
Western Prelacy of the Armenian Apostolic Church
Armenian National Committee of America
Armenian National Committee of America Western Region
Armenian National Committee of America Eastern Region
Armenian Revolutionary Federation – Eastern U.S. Central Committee
Armenian Revolutionary Federation – Western U.S. Central Committee
Armenian Democratic Liberal Organization – Western United States
Armenian Rights Council of America
Armenian Council of America
Armenian Relief Society – Eastern U.S. Regional Executive
Armenian Relief Society – Western U.S. Regional Executive
HASG – Armenian American Diasporan Organization
Armenian Genocide Commemorative United Body – Los Angeles.

For Immediate Release
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Armenian National Committee of America
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