TEN REASONS WHY OBAMA SHOULD TRAVEL TO ARMENIA ON APRIL 24

Huffington Post
March 30 2015

by Harut Sassounian , Publisher of The California Courier

Armenia's President Serzh Sargsyan has invited several world leaders
to Yerevan on April 24 to commemorate the Centennial of the Armenian
Genocide.

The Presidents of France, Russia, Poland, Cyprus and Belarus have
already accepted Pres. Sargsyan's invitation. The White House has yet
to make a public statement on whether Pres. Obama plans to travel to
Armenia on this most solemn occasion.

A Century ago, Henry Morgenthau, U.S. Ambassador to the Ottoman Empire,
described the systematic annihilation of 1.5 million Armenians as
"The Murder of a Nation." Raphael Lemkin, a Polish-Jewish lawyer,
told CBS that he coined the term genocide based on the mass crimes
committed against Armenians during WWI and Jews during WWII.

Here are 10 reasons why Air Force One should make an auspicious
landing in Yerevan's Zvartnots International Airport on April 24.

1. Pres. Obama would pay tribute to hundreds of thousands of
compassionate American citizens for having raised over $117 million --
today's equivalent of over $2 billion -- to aid destitute Armenians
in the aftermath of the Genocide. Initiated by Amb. Morgenthau and
supported by Pres. Woodrow Wilson, Near East Relief helped rescue
and care for 132,000 Armenian orphans. This massive charitable effort
was the first international humanitarian outreach in U.S. history.

2. By visiting Armenia on this occasion, Pres. Obama would be
reaffirming the longstanding US acknowledgment of the Armenian
Genocide -- a settled historical fact recognized as genocide
by: -- The U.S. Government in a document submitted to the World
Court in 1951; -- The House of Representatives in 1975 and 1984;
-- Pres. Ronald Reagan in a Presidential Proclamation issued on
April 22, 1981; -- 43 out of 50 U.S. states; -- Two dozen countries,
including France, Italy, Russia, Canada, Holland, Vatican, Switzerland,
Sweden, Argentina, Lebanon, Greece, Cyprus, Poland, and Venezuela; --
Several international organizations, including the UN Sub-Commission on
Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities; the European
Parliament; and the International Association of Genocide Scholars.

3. The Centennial could well be Pres. Obama's last opportunity
to regain the trust of the American public in general and the
Armenian-American community in particular by honoring his repeated
pledges as Senator and Presidential candidate to acknowledge the
Armenian Genocide.

4. Pres. Obama could lay the foundation for improved Armenian-Turkish
relations based on truth and justice, in line with a pending resolution
in the House of Representatives, and his previous April 24 statements,
declaring that "a full, frank, and just acknowledgement of the facts
is in all of our interests." Pres. Obama's visit would also encourage
Turkish human rights activists to continue their arduous task of
assisting the Government of Turkey to reckon with the darkest pages
of its past.

5. The U.S. President could take advantage of this visit to urge
Turkey to lift the blockade of Armenia, while taking a glimpse at
the biblical Mount Ararat just across the closed border.

6. In response to mounting attacks by Azerbaijan on Nagorno-Karabakh
(Artsakh), Pres. Obama could stress Washington's strong support for
a peaceful settlement of this thorny conflict.

7. Pres. Obama's visit would help balance Armenia's relations with the
West, particularly after its membership in the Russian-led Eurasian
Economic Union, and in view of Putin's planned trip to Yerevan on
April 24. Armenia has enjoyed close relations with Western Europe and
the United States, and has participated in international peacekeeping
forces in Afghanistan, Iraq, Kosovo and Lebanon. More recently, the
appointment of former Prime Minister Tigran Sargsyan as Ambassador
to Washington, underscores the importance Yerevan attaches to its
relations with the United States.

8. Since Pres. Obama, due to the Ukraine crisis, is not planning
to travel to Moscow to take part in the World War II Victory Day
celebrations on May 9, he would have the opportunity to meet with
Pres. Putin in Yerevan, in a less conspicuous atmosphere.

9. Pres. Obama's visit to Armenia would be a significant gesture of
goodwill toward the Armenian-American community. Last week, 16 major
Armenian-American organizations sent a joint letter to the President
urging him to participate in the Armenian Genocide Centennial events
in Armenia.

10. Pres. Obama would be making a historic first U.S. presidential
trip to Armenia, preceded by several high-ranking American officials:
Secretary of State James Baker III in 1992; Secretary of Defense Donald
Rumsfeld in 2001; and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in 2010
and 2012, when she laid a wreath at the Armenian Genocide Memorial
in Yerevan, as all U.S. Ambassadors have done on every April 24,
since the country's independence in 1991.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/harut-sassounian/ten-reasons-why-obama-sho_b_6941026.html