Washington, D.C. – The Armenian Assembly of America (Assembly), the largest, non-partisan Armenian American advocacy organization in the United States, welcomed the new Administration today as former Vice President Joe Biden and Senator Kamala Harris were sworn in as President and Vice President. Assembly Co-Chairs Anthony Barsamian and Van Krikorian issued the following statement:
“President Biden and Vice President Harris take office during a particularly perilous time for our country and across the globe. President Biden’s message of healing at home and pursuing a principled U.S. foreign policy supported by American values have our heartfelt welcome. The President has a remarkably strong record on issues that matter to Armenian Americans, as does Vice President Harris. We look forward to assisting our country in the healing and in advancing a better world. We are confident that the growing number of Armenian-Americans appointed to this Administration will serve with honor. As the victims of the first Genocide of the twentieth century, we know that supporting efforts to address racial injustice, persecution, genocide prevention are critical, and if left unattended, lead to disaster. It is clear that the same countries and forces which tried to use the January mob attack on Congress to weaken the United States are threats to democracy, the rule of law, human rights, respect for Christians, and religious freedom.” We agree with the January 19 hearing comments of U.S. Secretary of State nominee Antony Blinken that President Erdogan’s Turkey does not act like a U.S. ally. President Aliyev’s corrupt regime in Azerbaijan has worked hand in glove with Erdogan to continue eliminating more Christian Armenians, our churches, and our physical presence in their own countries and beyond. Both countries have also worked surreptitiously to improperly influence the U.S., European, and other governments to whitewash their records. With U.S. leadership, we pray that era will end.
The U.S. had ceded its official role as one of the three equal OSCE Minsk Group mediators to Russia, and needs to reclaim a leader’s role as a force for good. The six-week war Azerbaijan launched on September 27, 2020 against the Armenian people, with the full backing of Turkey and imported jihadi terrorists, emphasized that the war on terror must be pursued based on realism, not personal interests. The previous Administration provided over $100 million in extra military assistance to Azerbaijan in recent years, leaving the democratic republics of Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh at a sharp disadvantage. As President Biden has previously stated, the requirements of Section 907 of the Freedom Act must be fully implemented, not waived.
As the Administration has committed to make ‘universal human rights a top priority’ and to recognize the Armenian Genocide, we recall President Biden’s long-standing record on this issue as well as his statement to the Armenian Assembly on the occasion of our 2019 National Advocacy Conference, along with Vice President Harris’s statement in honor of Representative Jackie Speier (D-CA):
The United States must reaffirm once and for all, our record on the Armenian Genocide…We must never forget or remain silent about this horrific and systematic campaign of extermination that resulted in the deaths of 1.5 million Armenian men, women, and children and the mass deportation of 2 million Armenian from their homes. If we do not fully acknowledge, commemorate, and teach our children about genocide, the words “never again” lose their meaning. The facts must be as clear and as powerful for future generations as for those whose memories are seared with tragedy. Failing to remember or acknowledge the fact of a genocide only paves the way for future mass atrocities.
President Biden’s affirmation of the Armenian Genocide sends a strong message about this Administration’s commitment to human rights and America’s values. We look forward to working with the Biden Administration as they follow through on the promises they have made and what President Biden and Vice President Harris will do in office. Again, we welcome this historic day and wish them every success.”
Established in 1972, the Armenian Assembly of America is the largest Washington-based nationwide organization promoting public understanding and awareness of Armenian issues. The Assembly is a non-partisan, 501(c)(3) tax-exempt membership organization.