Glendale, California — On Wednesday, April 17, 2003, Congressman George Radanovich (R-Fresno) met with the Board of Directors and Local Chapter Chairs of the Armenian National Committee of America – Western Region (ANCA-WR) at the ANCA-WR Headquarters in Glendale, California. The meeting took place to discuss the introduction and progress of House Resolution 193, which the Congressman Co-Authored and introduced in Congress last week. H. Res. 193 recognizes the 15th anniversary of the adoption of the Proxmire Act by Congress, which implemented the United Nations Genocide Convention. The Resolution has appreciated strong bi-partisan support, garnering over 70 cosponsors from both parties. Full text of the Resolution is available on the ANCA website at www.ANCA.org.
Attending the meeting with the Congressman were representatives and the Chairs of the ANCs from the East and West San Fernando Valley, Glendale, Crescenta Valley, Hollywood, Pasadena, Burbank, San Gabriel Valley, and Fresno. Immediately prior to the meeting, the Congressman took a tour of the newly renovated ANCA-WR offices and gave a briefing to the Board of Directors on the status of H. Res. 193. During the meeting, Congressman Radanovich explained that the political climate in Washington, D.C. following Turkey’s refusal to allow U.S. troops access to its bases and facilities bordering Northern Iraq has led to an unfavorable outlook towards Turkey by some members of Congress. Congressman Radanovich suggested that the ANCA should maintain pressure on members of Congress, particularly in the Congressional leadership to stay true to their promise of revisiting the Genocide issue. Holding members to their word will ensure a strong likelihood of the bill moving towards a floor vote.
Congressman Radanovich played a key role in 2000 when an Armenian Genocide Resolution, H.R. 398 nearly reached a floor vote but was pulled off at the last minute due to pressure from the Clinton Administration, the State Department and House Speaker Dennis Hastert. The Congressman pledged to fight for official acknowledgement of the Armenian Genocide by Congress and welcomed the ANCA’s continued support in these efforts.
Following the discussion on H. Res. 193, ANCA-WR Director of Government Relations, Ardashes Kassakhian brought up the issue of continued foreign aid to the Republic of Armenia, raising concerns about the recommendations by the Bush Administration to cut back aid to Armenia by nearly half. Kassakhian pointed out that Armenia continues to suffer economically from the illegal blockade by the Republic of Turkey.
“The illegal blockade of Armenia combined with Turkey’s threats of entering Iraq are unsettling for the people of Armenia. With such an aggressive neighbor with a blatant disregard for humanitarian practices is a threat to the security of Armenia and there should be some parity in the foreign aid that Armenia receives versus the aid given to Turkey,” Kassakhian explained.
Congressman Radanovich stated his opinion that he does not expect Turkey to enter Iraq because it would seriously damage its relationship with the United States.
ANCA-WR Chairman Raffi Hamparian thanked Congressman Radanovich for meeting with the ANCA-WR and its local chapters and concluded the meeting with a brief account of the Congressman’s tireless efforts during the year 2000 to bring the Genocide Resolution to a vote. The Chairman added that the ANCA-WR is working very hard in Washington DC and the Western Region to ensure the success of the current Resolution in Congress.
To send an ANCA Webfax to your Representative in Congress urging them to support H. Res. 193 or to thank them for their support, log on to www.anca.org and click on the Action Alert.
The Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) is the largest and most influential Armenian American grassroots political organization. Working in coordination with a network of offices, chapters, and supporters throughout the United States and affiliated organizations around the world, the ANCA actively advances the concerns of the Armenian American community on a broad range of issues.