A Joint Statement by The Armenian General Benevolent Union and Armenian Assembly


WASHINGTON — The Armenian Assembly of America and the Armenian General Benevolent Union (AGBU) released the following statement this week:

In response to recent releases issued by the ANCA/Armenian Revolutionary Federation and Armenian Relief Society regarding participation in a meeting with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton initially scheduled for February 9, we would like to report that accusations and innuendos contained therein are groundless and constitute a mischaracterization of the facts. Our February 9 statement on that meeting speaks for itself and is reproduced below. We regret that certain organizations being motivated with their own partisan and promotional interests continue to create false impressions and perpetuate damaging controversies among Armenians:

Meeting with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton Postponed

WASHINGTON — With a blizzard that blanketed Washington, DC over the weekend, and more snow predicted for Tuesday and (Assembly), the Armenian General Benevolent Union (AGBU), the Diocese of the Armenian Church of America (Eastern), the Diocese of the Armenian Church (Western), the Knights of Vartan and the Armenian National Committee of America,has been postponed, announced the Assembly and AGBU.

Meanwhile, this past week, Armenia’s president, Serge Sargisian, in a message to his Turkish counterpart, Abdullah Gul, urged Turkey to honor its commitments stating that, “now the time has come to manifest determination to make [the] next major step and leave to the coming generations a stable and secure region.”

The Assembly and the AGBU welcome Sargisian’s renewed call to Turkey and view the meeting with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton as an opportunity to discuss steps in which the US can take to ensure that Turkey lift its blockade and normalize relations with Armenia without preconditions. Considering Turkey’s behavior, the timing is even more appropriate for the United States to reaffirm its record of Genocide acknowledgement and honor President Obama’s commitment that “America deserves a leader who speaks truthfully about the Armenian Genocide and responds forcefully to all genocides.” The House of Representatives is set to consider the Armenian Genocide Resolution in the House Foreign Affairs Committee on March 4, and with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s support, the Senate should advance the resolution as well.

Late last week, unfortunately, an editorial by the Armenian Weekly, about the upcoming meeting, not only misrepresented the facts, but unfortunately sowed seeds of division instead of presenting a united front. While the State Department had asked for discussions to consider expanding the meeting to include four more slots, the Armenian Assembly of America and the Armenian National Committee of America/Armenian Revolutionary Federation could not reach consensus on who those additional participants should be or several other matters.

To date, the Armenian National Committee of America has not even confirmed whether it will attend or not, regardless of the ultimate configuration of the meeting participants, and has also declined to meet at the Embassy of the Republic of Armenia with all the groups invited prior to the meeting with Clinton.

The AGBU and Assembly want to be clear: “We would welcome the participation of additional independent voices in the meeting, but do not support the attempt by a political party to enhance its agenda to politicize the process and further polarize the community. Those initially invited are the organizations, which had voiced their position at the initiation of the issue of the Protocols and represent a large cross-section of our community. In addition, we should all agree on a common agenda in advance to present a unified front during such a meeting, and avoid the type of posturing and lack of respect with the Secretary of State as displayed during the community meeting with Sargisian in New York City last October.”