July 31, 2004

BUTTE, MT–Just months after Montana joined the growing list of states that officially acknowledge the Armenian Genocide, ANCA-WR Executive Director Ardashes Kassakhian went to Montana for a meeting with ANC Montana Chair Yedvart Tchakerian and US Senator Conrad Burns (R-MT), at his field office in Butte.

The July 25 meeting marked the first time Senator Burns met with Armenian constituents and with representatives of any Armenian community organization.

Kassakhian and Tchakerian discussed issues of particular concern to Armenian-Americans and encouraged to Senator to co-sponsor SR 164 which marks the 15th anniversary of the adoption of the United Nation’s Convention on the punishment and prevention of Genocides. In 1987, President Ronald Reagan pushed this legislation through the US Senate.

During the historic meeting, Kassakhian also detailed the many initiatives ANCA has been working on.

Kassakhian presented the Senator a carved wooden replica of a Stone Cross (Khatchkar) which symbolizes Armenia’s strong Christian faith and serves as a marker to indicate areas in which Armenians have had a historic presence.

Tchakerian gave the Senator a copy of Peter Balakian’s best selling book “The Burning Tigris: The Armenian Genocide and America’s Response.”

Following the meeting, Montana ANC Chair Tchakerian, commenting on the tone of the meeting, said, “We are looking forward to having Senator Burns join the growing bipartisan list of Senators supporting efforts to officially acknowledge the massacres of 1.5 million Christian Armenians as a genocide.”

Kassakhian agreed and spoke of the recent intensity of ANC Montana’s activities.

Montana recently became the 32nd state to acknowledge the Armenian Genocide and paved the way for four more states to follow suit. Tchakerian has distributed hundreds of ANCA Genocide Prevention Program Postcards throughout the state of Montana, drawing public attention to the two resolutions in Congress which deal with the Armenian Genocide and other crimes against humanity like the Holocaust, and Cambodian and Rwandan Genocides.

Senator Conrad Burns is currently serving his second term in the US Senate and is the only Republican Senator in Montana to be reelected. Senator Burns serves on the powerful Appropriations Committee as well as the Committees on Commerce, Science and Transportation, Energy and Natural Resources, and Small Business.

For Immediate Release
Media Contact: Armen Carapetian
Email / Tel: (818) 500-1918
Armenian National Committee of America
Western Region
104 N. Belmont, Suite 200, Glendale, CA 91206 * Tel. (818) 500-1918