HOUSE MEMBERS PRESS CLINTON ON GENOCIDE, RETURN OF CHURCHES AND JAVAKHK

asbarez
Thursday, March 1st, 2012

WASHINGTON-During testimony before two key U.S. House Committees
Wednesday, Secretary Clinton was pressed on a range of concerns to
Armenian Americans, including, most prominently, her recent remarks
misrepresenting the Armenian Genocide, as well as calls for Turkey's
return of confiscated Christian churches, the Administration's proposed
19% reduction in aid to Armenia, and efforts to focus U.S. assistance
to the Samtskhe-Javakheti region of Georgia, reported the Armenian
National Committee of America.

Rep. Adam Schiff during the hearing House Democrats Adam Schiff
(D-CA), Brad Sherman (D-CA), David Cicilline (D-RI), Jesse Jackson
(D-IL) and Steve Rothman (D-NJ) each used a portion of their limited
questioning time to focus Clinton's attention on key issues, with
some responses offered during the hearing and others to be submitted
in written form at a later date.

Additional House Members may be submitting written questions on
community concerns in the upcoming days.

"We would like to thank Representative Schiff for pressing the
Secretary to explain her recent remarks on the Armenian Genocide,
and to express our appreciation to Congressmen Sherman, Cicilline,
Jackson and Rothman for taking the lead in raising key community
concerns with Secretary Clinton today," stated ANCA Executive Director
Aram Hamparian. "Greater clarity on the Obama Administration's policy
of the Armenian Genocide, Turkey's return of churches, and foreign
aid policies toward the Caucusus are all very meaningful for Armenian
American voters, as we prepare to go to the polls this November."

Rep. Schiff Gives Clinton Opportunity to Correct Misrepresentation
of Genocide; Clinton Dodges Question

In a forceful series of questions offered during the House
Appropriations Subcommittee on Foreign Operations hearing with
Secretary Clinton, Rep. Schiff referenced the U.S. record of affirming
the Armenian Genocide, citing a document submitted to the International
Court of Justice in 1951 clearly referencing the Armenian Genocide,
President Ronald Reagan's affirmation of the Armenian Genocide in
1981 and Secretary Clinton's own statements as Senator properly
characterizing those crimes.

The California Congressman then juxtaposed this record with recent
statements made by the Secretary in January, in which she referred
to the Armenian Genocide as a "historical debate," and asked "is
there any question that you have that the facts of that tragic period
between 1915 and 1923 constitute genocide? Do you have any different
view on the subject now than you did as a state - as a U.S. senator?"

Once again, Secretary Clinton was evasive, resorting to euphemisms
such as "terrible events," and "one of the worst atrocities of the
20th century," but stopping short of her clear statements as Senator
in 2008, when she affirmed that "the horrible events perpetrated
by the Ottoman Empire against Armenians constitute a clear case of
genocide." She noted President Obama's annual April 24th statement,
in which he has argued that "a full, frank and just acknowledgement
of the facts of what happened is in everyone's interest," then put
the onus on the Turkish and Armenian people, and their respective
governments, to resolve the issue.

"The Armenian Genocide is a major crime against all humanity,
requiring international justice, not a simple bilateral conflict
between nations needing mediation," stated ANCA Executive Director
Aram Hamparian. "According to her morally and factually flawed logic,
America and the international community should have remained silent in
the face of the Holocaust and other genocides in Rwanda and elsewhere,
leaving it to the perpetrators and victims of these crimes to come
to a common understanding of their past. It's truly a sad spectacle
to see our nation's top diplomat pressured by Turkey to dance around
the truth and play word games with genocide."

Rep. Steve Rothman

Rep. Jesse Jackson Both Representatives Jesse Jackson (D-IL) and Steve
Rothman (D-NJ) associated themselves with Rep. Schiff's statement and
inquiry during the hearing. Rep. Jackson went on to express concern
about President Obama's proposed 19% cut in assistance to Armenia.

Earlier this week, over 60 Members of the House of Representatives
sent a letter to Secretary Clinton, asking her to renounce her recent
public mischaracterization of the Armenian Genocide. In that letter,
Members stated that the "historically inaccurate description of the
Armenian Genocide as an open question, in addition to the offense
it represents to Armenian Americans and other victims of genocide,
provides American encouragement to the Republic of Turkey in its
shameful campaign of denial."

Read a copy of the letter.

Rep. Brad Sherman

Rep. David Cicilline Rep. Sherman Advocates U.S. Assistance to
Samtskhe-Javakheti; Rep.

Cicilline inquires about Turkey's Return of Churches During the House
Foreign Affairs Committee hearing with Secretary Clinton, Rep. Sherman
focused the first of his questions on U.S.

assistance to the largely Armenian populated region of
Samtskhe-Javakheti in the southern part of Georgia. "We have been very
generous with the country of Georgia," explained Rep. Sherman, who went
on to note that assistance to Javakheti would "help bind Javakhk to
the Republic of Georgia, would help achieve our goals in the Caucasus."

Last September, during a Congressional event celebrating Armenia's
independence, Rep. Sherman had first discussed the importance of
addressing the extreme poverty in the Samtskhe-Javakheti region as
part of the broader U.S. commitment to strengthening Georgia and the
Caucaus region overall.

Later in the hearing, Rep. Cicilline allotted a portion of his question
time to inquire about "our efforts to ensure that Turkey respect the
Christians, the Churches and religious freedom in that country." Last
June, Rep. Cicilline joined House Foreign Affairs Committee Ranking
Democrat Howard Berman (D-CA) in offering an amendment to the State
Department Authorization bill which called on Turkey to return
confiscated Christian Churches. The amendment was passed 43 - 1,
with similar legislation (H.Res.306) adopted later by the full House
in December.