Armenian National Committee of America
888 17th St., NW, Suite 904
Washington, DC 20006
Tel: (202) 775-1918
Fax: (202) 775-5648
E-mail: [email protected]
Internet: www.anca.org

PRESS RELEASE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 28, 2005
Contact: Elizabeth S. Chouldjian
Tel: (202) 775-1918


AMBASSADOR EVANS' STATEMENTS RECOGNIZING THE ARMENIAN
GENOCIDE DO NOT REPRESENT A FORMAL CHANGE IN U.S. POLICY

-- ANCA Voices Community Outrage Over Administration's Inability
to Withstand Turkish Pressure over Ambassador's Statements

WASHINGTON, DC - U.S. Ambassador to Armenia John Marshall Evans, only
days after completing an official tour of Armenian American communities
during which he repeatedly gave recognition to the Armenian Genocide,
has noted that these comments were his private views and do not
reflect a change in U.S. government policy. His statement on this
subject was posted today on the Embassy's website - www.usa.am.

"Armenian Americans are profoundly disappointed by those influential
officials that remain within the Administration who - against all
facts and contrary to U.S. interests - are still able to impose their
agenda on every front of the increasingly untenable and lop-sided
U.S.-Turkey relationship. This is particularly troubling, coming at
a time when Turkey has obstructed U.S. regional objectives, deceived
U.S. policymakers, and fostered an unprecedented level of anti-American
sentiment among its citizens. As a community, we vigorously condemn
the ongoing policy of U.S. complicity in Turkey's shameful campaign
of Genocide denial," said ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian.

"Regardless of the disappointing outcome of this episode, we commend
Amb. Evans for his courage in coming forward and publicly stating his
views on the Armenian Genocide, views that are shared by all but the
Turkish government and its surrogates. In so doing, the Ambassador
has placed this issue prominently on America's public agenda. For our
part, as Armenian Americans, on this year of the 90th anniversary
of the Armenian Genocide, we will pursue this matter with renewed
vigor - with the White House, Congress, and the entire foreign policy
community," added Hamparian.

Ambassador Evans comments were made at a series of public Armenian
American community outreach events in Boston, New York, New Jersey,
San Francisco, Los Angeles, Fresno and Washington, DC. During his
presentations in these cities, the Ambassador spoke with a level of
candor on the Armenian Genocide that was specifically welcomed by
Armenian Americans.

During his public presentation at the University of California,
Berkeley, hosted by Armenian Studies Program Executive Director,
Prof. Stephan Astourian, Evans announced, "I will today call it the
Armenian Genocide." The Ambassador, who has studied Russian History
at Yale and Columbia universities and Ottoman History at the Kennan
Institute, argued that, "we, the US government, owe you, our fellow
citizens a more frank and honest way of discussing this problem.
Today, as someone who's studied it... There's no doubt in my mind
what happened." He explained that he had also consulted with a State
Department lawyer who confirmed that the events of 1915 were "genocide
by definition."

Amb. Evans' commitment to moral clarity came through in further
remarks, stating "I think it is unbecoming of us as Americans to play
word games here. I believe in calling things by their name."

During a speech to schoolchildren at the Alex Pilibos Armenian School
in Los Angeles, Amb. Evans cited with pride that 37 U.S. states had
recognized the Armenian Genocide.

The full text of Amb. Evans February 28th statement follows.

#####

Public Affairs
News Release

EMBASSY OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
MARSHALL BAGHRAMIAN STREET 18
YEREVAN, ARMENIA
TELEPHONE (+374 1) 52 78 71; 52 16 11; 52 46 61
FAX (+374 1) 52 08 00
E-MAIL: [email protected]

U.S. Ambassador: Regarding comments made in the United States

I would like to clarify U.S. policy. Misunderstandings make have
arisen as a result of comments made by me during recent informal
meetings with Armenian-American groups in the United States
regarding the characterization of the Armenian tragedy in Ottoman
Turkey and the future status of Nagorno Karabakh.

Although I told my audiences that the United States policy on the
Armenian Genocide has not changed, I used the term "genocide"
speaking in what I characterized as my personal capacity. This was
inappropriate.

The President's annual statement on Armenian Remembrance Day
articulates U.S. policy on this matter. My government acknowledges
the tragedy that befell the Armenian community in Anatolia during
the last years of the Ottoman Empire. We have been actively
encouraging scholarly, civil society and diplomatic discussion of
the forced killing and exile of Armenians in 1915. We have also
encouraged economic and political dialogue between the governments
of Armenia and Turkey in order to help all parties come to terms
with these horrific events.

In addition, my comments on the status of Nagorno Karabakh may have
also created misunderstanding on U.S. policy. The U.S. government
supports the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan and holds that the
future status of Nagorno Karabakh is a matter of negotiation
between Armenia and Azerbaijan.

The United States remains committed to finding a peaceful
settlement of the Nagorno Karabakh conflict through the Minsk group
process. We are encouraged by the continuing talks between the
Foreign Ministers of Armenia and Azerbaijan under the auspice of
the Minsk group co-chairs.

I deeply regret any misunderstanding caused by my comments.

Sincerely,

John M. Evans
U.S. Ambassador to Armenia