Armenian National Committee
San Francisco - Bay Area
51 Commonwealth Avenue
San Francisco, CA 94118
Tel: (415) 387-3433
Fax: (415) 751-0617
[email protected]

Contact: Bay Area ANC: (415) 387-3433 or [email protected]

September 25, 2006


San Francisco, CA, September 24 - New Jersey congressman Frank Pallone
met with members of the Bay Area Armenian-American community at a
gathering hosted by the Bay Area Armenian National Committee at St.
Gregory Armenian Church's Vaspouragan Hall. After attending church
services, Pallone discussed the status of various proposed legislation
of particular interest to Armenian-Americans.

Pallone, who is the founder and co-chair of the Armenian Issues Caucus
in the House of Representatives, and is currently in his 9th term in
Congress, praised the Armenian Diaspora for its contributions to
Armenia and its participation in the U.S. political process, which has
enabled the growth of the Armenian Caucus and its pursuit of
legislation. He pledged to fight for more foreign aid to Armenia and
Karabagh, and addressed issues including the proposed railroad between
Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Turkey, the oil pipeline between those
countries, the removal of the U.S. Ambassador to Armenia and the
nomination of a replacement, the recognition of the Armenian Genocide,
and the need for an open border between Turkey and Armenia.

"Turkey's blockade of the border is in violation of international law,"
said Pallone. He acknowledged Turkey's desire to join the European
Union and its suppression of freedom of expression. Considering the
recent Turkish government prosecutions against those who have discussed
the Armenian Genocide, and its desire to join the European Union,
Pallone said it is important to continue to seek Genocide recognition.

On the removal of Ambassador Evans because of his statements
acknowledging the Armenian Genocide and the hearings surrounding the
nomination of his successor, Pallone said the "media blitz" which
followed, made the State Department look "more marginal, more
ridiculous," for not allowing its ambassadors to Armenia to refer to the
Armenian Genocide by name. "It's drawn a lot of attention to the issue
in a positive way."

On the Karabagh issue, Pallone said, "In the coming months and years,
the Caucus will be making an effort to put the pressure on the U.S.
government, saying a peace settlement needs to be reached soon."
Pallone acknowledged that Armenia is a small country and said, "It
doesn't get much attention from the State Department or whatever
administration is in power," though he added, "More conflict in the
Caucasus is not in the best interests of the United States."

Pallone answered questions about issues including the geopolitical
situation in the Caucuses, the role of the US embassy in Armenia, and
the role of Islam in politics of the region.

From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress