NATIONAL ORGANIZATION OF REPUBLICAN ARMENIANS GRANTS FAVORABLE REVIEW OF ADMINISTRATION’S TRACK RECORD ON ARMENIAN ISSUES
WASHINGTON–DC (NORA)–The National Organization of Republican Armenia’s (NORA) released on January 8–a review of the Bush Administration’s accomplishmen’s on issues of concern to Armenian American voters.
NORA Chairwoman Melanie Kerneklian said that though the Administration–as many before it–has been unable to meet all of the organization’s expectations–NORA is nevertheless "encouraged by the President’s support for Armenia and Armenian Americans and look forward to remaining actively engaged with his Administration."
The organization points to 2003 third quarter review of contributions to the Bush-Cheney 2004 campaign of over a hundred and fifty-seven thousand dollars–as a symbol of the high level of Armenian American support for the Bush Administration–and representative of the strong ethnic participation in the presidential election process.
NORA Review of Bush Administration Accomplishmen’s
The Bush Administration’s Record on Armenian American Issues
* Commemorating Armenian Remembrance Day
President Bush annually commemorates April 24–Armenian Remembrance Day–with remarks noting the mass killings and forced exile of countless Armenia’s in the final days of the Ottoman Empire. In his April 2003 statement–the President stressed: "the suffering that befell the Armenian people in 1915 is a tragedy for all humanity–which the world should not forget." Though falling short of formally declaring the Armenian Genocide–President Bush has issued statemen’s more strongly worded than past presidents.
* Promoting US-Armenia trade and investment
The Bush Administration supports the crucial work of the US-Armenia Economic Task Force–and backs the creation of a trade subcommittee of the Task Force to expand bilateral trade and investment between the US and Armenia. The level of overall US-Armenia trade has increased every year during the Bush Administration.
* Armenian membership in the World Trade Organization
The Bush Administration helped secure Armenia’s membership in the World Trade Organization and is encouraging Congress to move forward with legislation granting Armenia permanent normal trade relations (PNTR) status.
* Foreign aid to Armenia and Mountainous Karabagh
During its first term–the Bush Administration approved over three hundred million dollars in assistance to Armenia and Mountainous Karabagh–helping Armenia’s to build a secure–prosperous–and democratic future. For details about the benefits of US programs in Armenia–visit: www.usa.am/assistance/. Though this administration has reduced the amount of aid to Armenia and the Newly Independent States (NIS)–aid to Armenia has increased as a percentage of total NIS assistance.
* Pressuring Turkey to lift its blockade
The Bush Administration has pressed Turkey to restore economic–political–and cultural links with Armenia–and is encouraging Turkey to open its border with Armenia. In an October 7–2002 letter to the Congressional Armenian Caucus–Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage noted: "such action would promote the economic development of both Turkey and Armenia."
* Supporting IMF and World Bank programs in Armenia
The Bush Administration continues to work with international financial institutions–such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF)–and the World Bank–to assist Armenia in its transition to a free-market economy.
* Sending military aid to Armenia
The Bush Administration initiated the US military aid program for Armenia–providing training and communications equipment for Armenia’s armed forces. The Administration maintained parity in the military aid levels to both Armenia and Azerbaijan–and implemented safeguards (Presidential Determination No. 2004-18) to ensure that US military aid to Azerbaijan "will not undermine or hamper ongoing efforts to negotiate a peaceful settlement between Armenia and Azerbaijan or be used for offensive purposes against Armenia."
* Armenian American appointmen’s
The President appointed Joe Bogosian to a Deputy Assistant Secretary position at the Commerce Department–John Jamian to a key maritime position in the Department of Transportation–and Samuel Der-Yeghiayan as a Federal Judge in the Northern District of Illinois.
* Facilitating Mountainous Karabagh peace settlement
Within six months of taking office–the Bush Administration took the unprecedented initiative to organize a summit between Secretary of State Colin Powell and the Presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan–to facilitate the resolution of the Mountainous Karabagh conflict. Unfortunately–the summit’s progress toward a peaceful settlement was subsequently derailed by Azerbaijani President Heidar Aliyev’s refusal to honor commitmen’s he made at Key West.
NORA works to expand the Republican Party’s outreach into the Armenian American community and to encourage Armenia’s–at the local–state–and national levels to become involved in shaping and advancing the Republican agenda. Those interested can contact National Organization of Republican Armenia’s by writing: NORA–1745 Pennsylvania Ave.–NW–Suite 126–Washington–DC 20006–or by email: [email protected]