WASHINGTON–Congressman Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) Wednesday challenged Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice over the Administration’s efforts to press legislators to oppose the Armenian Genocide Resolution, reported the Armenian National Committee of America.
Speaking today during the Secretary’s appearance before the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Rohrabacher, a senior Republican with a long track-record championing human rights, explained his support for the resolution, H.Res.106, noting that, "I think I speak for my colleagues here, that this vote was a human rights vote and a recognition of a violation human rights." The panel, with the support of Rohrabacher and the Committee’s Chairman, Tom Lantos (D-CA), approved this measure on October 10th by a vote of 27 to 21.
The Secretary responded to the Congressman’s concerns, noting that:"I recognize that it was a difficult vote for some who supported the Administration’s position on this. There was a reason that we felt very strongly that this resolution should not go forward. This is a very delicate time with Turkey. It is a time when it is going through a major transformation internally." She added, "We have extremely important strategic interests with the Turks," and closed by saying "I continue to believe that the passage of such a resolution as the Armenian Genocide Resolution would severely harm our relationships."
"We can’t advance our interests by compromising our values," said ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian. "Agreeing to a Turkish government gag-rule on the Armenian Genocide only emboldens other nations to use similar threats to silence America’s voice on a whole range of human rights issues."
"The real threat here is to our international moral standing. Any damage to U.S. interests won’t come from passing a piece of human rights legislation, but rather from caving in to foreign intimidation, at the cost of our credibility and–in more practical terms–our ability as a nation to shape international public opinion in support of our foreign policy priorities."