GLENDALE–Members of the Board of Directors of the Armenian National Committee of America-Western Region (ANCA-WR)–along with members of the Board of Directors of the American Hellenic Council (AHC)–met with Congressman Robert Andrews (D-NJ) at the ANCA-WR headquarters in Glendale–California during the Congressman’s visit to Southern California on December 27.
Representatives of the ANCA-WR and the AHC voiced their concerns about the Republic of Turkey’s attempts to join the European Union among other issues related to American foreign policy in regard to Armenia–Greece–and Cyprus.
ANCA-WR Executive Director Ardashes Kassakhian thanked the Congressman for his support of the Greek and Armenian communities. Explaining that the Greek and Armenian communities were very concerned with the United States’ active role in advancing Turkey’s ambitions for EU membership–Kassakhian pointed out that Turkey has to conform to and adopt the basic standards of human rights by which the EU nations and the US abide. In addition to emphasizing Turkey’s overall abysmal record on human rights–Kassakhian told Congressman Andrews of the importance of including recognition of the Armenian genocide as a precondition to Turkey’s entry into the EU.
AHC President Dinos Andrianos expressed the Greek American community’s concerns regarding the tacit US support of the controversial Annan Plan for Cyprus which favors Turkey’s position. The plan proposed by UN Secretary General Kofi Annan would require that the Turkish occupying force vacate most of northern Cyprus–but allow Turkey to retain control of key areas on the island nation. Cypriots have overwhelmingly rejected the Annan Plan as have Armenian Cypriots.
Congressman Andrews urged the ANC and AHC to continue their bipartisan outreach to members of Congress–adding that the public awareness campaign is working within the halls of Congress where most of the members are supportive of Armenian and Greek issues. Congressman Andrews commended the ANC and AHC for keeping their respective communities informed and involved in the political process.
Representing New Jersey’s 1st Congressional District–Congressman Andrews is a member of the Congressional Caucus on Armenian Issues. He sits on the House of Representatives Select Committee on Homeland Security and the Education and Workforce Committee. The Congressman has consistently supported Armenian issues and has earned an A or better on the ANCA Congressional Report Card during the last two election cycles.
The American Hellenic Council (AHC) is a non-partisan political advocacy organization based in California–whose purpose of AHC is to lobby and inform congress about Greek American interests and issues.