WASHINGTON, DC – Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, in response earlier today to a series of questions during her testimony before Congress, broke with the Department of State’s longstanding pattern of aggressively opposing legislation recognizing the Armenian Genocide, reported the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA).
During her testimony before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Foreign Operations, Congressional Armenian Caucus Co-Chair Mark Kirk (R-IL) noted Secretary Clinton’s previous support for Armenian Genocide legislation in the Senate. Referring to the impending Committee vote on a similar resolution, H.Res.252, Rep. Kirk stated: “I hope we do that; and I hope the House of Representatives does that, and I hope you let that happen.”
Secretary Clinton responded, citing the ongoing Turkey-Armenia Protocols discussion and continued efforts by the Administration to urge their ratification, but remained silent on the resolution. In past years, previous administration’s, both Democratic and Republican, have used every opportunity to seek to defeat such legislation.
Armenian Genocide Resolution lead sponsor Adam Schiff (D-CA), during his questioning, stated, “I don’t think the prospect of reconciliation, as much as I would like it to happen, should be used as a reason not to recognize the undeniable fact of the Armenian Genocide.” He urged “the Administration’s support on the legislation and at a minimum certainly not to get involved in opposing the legislation.”
Secretary Clinton offered her support for the Turkey-Armenia Protocols, but, once again, did not attack the Armenian Genocide Resolution in response to questions during an earlier hearing before the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
“Secretary Clinton’s remarks represent the third time in just the past few weeks that a senior Obama Administration official – in response to pointed questions about the Armenian Genocide Resolution – has chosen not to voice any opposition to the adoption of this genocide-prevention measure,” said ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian. “The current Administration’s conduct, at least to date, stands in stark contrast to past Administrations – both Democratic and Republican – that used every opportunity to score points with Ankara by attacking the broad, bipartisan Congressional majority that has long existed in support of U.S. condemnation and commemoration of the Armenian Genocide.”
Secretary Clinton appeared before both Committees to outline the fiscal year 2011 State Department foreign aid priorities. Foreign Affairs Committee member Brad Sherman (D-CA) praised the Obama Administration for increasing its assistance request for Armenia in 2011, but argued that “Congress should enhance that.” He noted that while the Obama Administration had maintained parity in Foreign Military Financing assistance between Armenia and Azerbaijan, military training assistance was not balanced. He also called for a “specific aid request for Nagorno Karabagh.” Secretary Clinton will have an opportunity to respond to his questions in writing.
“We would like to thank Representatives Kirk, Schiff and Sherman for speaking out about Armenia foreign aid priorities and once again urging passage of the Armenian Genocide Resolution,” stated Hamparian. “With the Foreign Affairs Committee set to vote on H.Res.252 and the foreign aid process in full gear, we are actively reaching out to our community expand our engagement with legislators from across the country.”
House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Howard Berman (D-CA) has scheduled a vote on the Armenian Genocide Resolution (H.Res.252) on March 4th. Over 137 House Members have cosponsored this measure, spearheaded by Representatives Schiff, George Radanovich (R-CA), and Congressional Armenian Caucus Co-Chairs Frank Pallone (D-NJ) and Mark Kirk (R-IL). A similar measure in the Senate (S.Res.316), led by Senators Bob Menendez (D-NJ) and John Ensign (R-NV) has 13 cosponsors.