AAA: U.S. Senator Edward Kennedy rendered invaluable help to Armenian people
28.08.2009 19:28 GMT+04:00 Print version Send to mail

/PanARMENIAN.Net/ The Armenian Assembly of America (AAA) mourns the
loss of U.S. Senator Edward M. Kennedy. "Our thoughts and prayers are
with the Kennedy family," said Assembly Board President Carolyn
Mugar. "Throughout his career, Senator Kennedy embodied the principles
we hold dear - promoting democracy, championing civil rights and human
rights, and standing up for those in need. His support of the Armenian
people and contributions to reaffirm the U.S. record on the Armenian
Genocide are invaluable. We thank him for his extraordinary service to
this great nation and the cause of freedom and democracy around the
world. Senator Kennedy will be greatly missed, " Assembly Board of
Trustees President Carolyn Mugar.

For decades, Senator Kennedy led by example when it came to support
for the Armenian people. Just after the devastating 1988 earthquake,
Senator Kennedy appealed to many private companies for donations to
assist Armenia in its time of need. In early 1990, he initiated a
letter urging then Secretary of Defense Richard Cheney to authorize
airlifts to Armenia. These airlifts provided bedding, electric
heaters, winter clothing and other desperately needed items for the
influx of refugees coming from Azerbaijan and to those still suffering
as a result of the earthquake. Senator Kennedy's leadership was
instrumental and helped save lives during a critical time.

Senator Kennedy pressed for a variety of programs to help Armenian
refugee communities across the globe, including those who fled from
Iran after the fall of the Shah and those who rebuilt their
communities after being caught in the civil war in Lebanon. He also
worked to facilitate the exit of Armenian refugees from the Soviet
Union in the 1980s. His long-standing support of the Armenian cause
has earned Senator Kennedy accolades from the Armenian-American
community, including the "Friends of the Armenians" Award from t
merica.

In addition, Senator Kennedy was a staunch supporter of Karabakh's
right to self-determination and supported Section 907 of the FREEDOM
Support Act, which restricts U.S. aid to Azerbaijan because of its
hostile actions and blockade of Armenia and Nagorno Karabakh. Senator
Kennedy helped champion the Humanitarian Aid Corridor Act, prohibiting
U.S. assistance to any country which restricts the transport or
delivery of U.S. humanitarian aid to other countries. As an original
cosponsor of that bill, Senator Kennedy remarked, "The efforts by any
nation to block U.S. humanitarian aid are unconscionable. The
Humanitarian Aid Corridor Act is a responsible measure that is
designed to ensure that individuals in great need will receive
U.S. assistance." Kennedy also cosponsored S.1557, a bill to authorize
the extension of nondiscriminatory treatment (normal trade relations
treatment) to the products of Armenia.

In regard to the Armenian Genocide, Senator Kennedy was a relentless
advocate for affirming this historical fact and the proud chapter in
U.S. humanitarianism. During the 85th Commemoration in Boston,
Assembly President Mugar had the distinct honor of introducing the
senator at Copley Square's Trinity Church the day after Easter with
two thousand in attendance. When His Holiness Karekin I, Supreme
Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians and the first President of
Armenia Levon Ter Petrosian, both visited the U.S., Senator Kennedy
hosted them together with the New England Armenian American Community
at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Boston.

Throughout his tenure, he was an ardent supporter of resolutions
affirming the Armenian Genocide and vigorously defended the truth in
the face of Turkish denial. In his numerous speeches, Kennedy made it
clear that "It is time for all governments, political leaders and
peoples everywhere to recognize the Armenian Genocide. These annual
commemorations are an effective way to pay tribute to the courage and
suffering and triumph of the Armenian peop l never happen again to any
people on earth."