MISSION HILLS–The Armenian National Committee of America Western Region (ANCA-WR) continued its 2002 Congressional Outreach Campaign on Thursday–January 23–meeting with Representative Howard Berman (CA-26). The meeting–which was attended by representatives of both chapters of the ANC active in the 26th Congressional District–was one in a series of meetings that will take place with Members of Congress as part of the ANCAWR’s overall advocacy and outreach program in the first quarter of 2002.
ANC West and East San Fernando Valley representatives–Vic Melkonian–Greg Keossian and Thomas Azaian were accompanied by ANCA-WR Executive Director Alex Sardar and Government Relations Director Ardashes Kassakhian at the meeting with Rep. Berman and Margarett J. Mott–Director of Casework and Projects–to discuss issues of concern to the local Armenian-American community as well as issues of concern on the national and international level.
In addition to updating Rep. Berman on recent efforts of Genocide recognition and other Armenian American legislative issues–including the recent waiver on Section 907–the ANC representativesbriefed the San Fernando Valley Congressman on the failed Turkish Armenian Reconciliation Commission. Sardar informed the Congressman of the Armenian American community’s great disappointment at the outcome of the 2000 Armenian Genocide Resolution.
The ANC representatives explained to Rep. Berman the serious security implications of a waiver of Section 907–and the dangers of American military aid being used against Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh by the rogue Azeri government–which has been known have given shelter to Al Quaeda terrorist cells within its borders as late as 1999.
Azaian and Keossian briefed Rep. Berman on the changes taking place in the local communities of East San Fernando Valley–including North Hollywood and Van Nuys–as more Armenian-American community continued to experience a steady rise in population. The need for increased services and attention to the Armenian-American community was explained to Rep. Berman–who expressed a strong desire to continue to meet with local representatives of the ANC regularly to stay informed of the needs and issues facing Armenian-Americans living in the district. Issues such as immigration–increased youth programs–voter registration and cultural transitions were also discussed.
On the national level–Rep. Berman pledged to continue supporting legislation that would reaffirm the Armenian Genocide by the United States.
"Turkey’s refusal to accept the historical facts of the Genocide is holding them back," he added. "The German experience should be an example to Turkey."
At the same time–Rep. Berman expressed his concerns over reports of Jewish American organizations’ stance on issues of concern to the Armenian American community–including Section 907 and the Armenian Genocide Resolution–pledging to look into the matter and raise his concerns with representatives of a number of Jewish American organizations.