YEREVAN (Armenpress–Yerkir)–Some 130 delegates from around 20 countries representing branches of the Armenian National Committee (ANC) arrived in Armenia to participate in a two-day ANC world summit May 6-7. The summit will take up direction of future ANC efforts and Armenia’s foreign and domestic policies.
ARF Armenia Supreme Body representative Armen Rustamian said during a press conference on Monday that the event is unprecedented in that representatives of World ANC chapters will–for the first time–meet in Armenia.
"As an independent country–Armenia has a great deal of foreign policy work to undertake," pointed out Rustamian–suggesting the need to coordinate certain efforts with the ANC.
Chair of the European Armenian Federation for Justice and Democracy (FEAJD)–formerly ANC Europe–Hilda Tchoboian presented efforts by various ANCs throughout Europe. She emphasized that the European Parliament in 1987 officially recognized the Armenian Genocide and has made Turkey’s acceptance of the Genocide a precondition to its accession into the European Union. The efforts of the FEAJD in pressing this with Turkey is not a humanitarian effort–she stressed–but is political in nature. "If Turkey has hopes to increase its political clout in the region–without accepting responsibility for the Armenian Genocide–then it makes it impossible to present itself as a normal country to the international community; this is important–and is therefore the issue we are stressing throughout Europe" said Tchoboian.
ANC chapters in Europe work with all entities of the European Union and the European Commission. "On this level–our efforts are not just aimed at the recognition of the Armenian Genocide in a narrow sense–but also concentrate on issues of democracy and stability in the Caucuses region. They are intertwined–and we do not look at the issue of genocide as an issue of the past–but as a fundamental matter that absolutely conditions present politics," said Tchoboian.
The director of the Armenian National Committee of America headquarters in Washington–DC Aram Hamparian–spoke about efforts to gain recognition of the Armenian Genocide not only in US Congress–but also by the US president. Though the ANC was disappointed by President Bush–who again this year broke his February 2000 campaign pledge to properly recognize the Armenian Genocide–the issue of the Armenian Genocide will–nevertheless–be on the agenda of US Congress in the coming months with the introduction of the resolution on the 15th anniversary of the ratification of the convention on genocide–calling for the recognition of the Armenian Genocide–revealed Hamparian. The resolution already enjoys the support of more than 100 representatives–and the Armenian community is rallying support for the resolution which is also supported by numerous non-Armenian organizations–he noted.
The ANCA is also working to maintain $90 million in aid to Armenia instead of the proposed $49 million this year–and is urging Congress to support legislation to permanently normalize trade relations between the United States and Armenia.
ANC Moscow director Seyran Baghdassarian outlined ANC’s undertakings in Moscow–noting that with Moscow’s official recognition in 1995 of the Armenian Genocide–efforts are now geared toward getting various sectors of government to implement programs that correspond to its official recognition–i.e. inclusion of the issue of the Armenian Genocide in textbooks.
Works include keeping political circles abreast of the Nagorno Karabagh issue–as well as passage of legislation in various CIS countries condemning the Armenian Genocide.