February 16, 2013 - 10:35 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - The Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA), this week, called upon newly confirmed Secretary of State John Kerry to host a meeting with the broad-based collective leadership of Armenian American organizations, prior to the annual April 24 commemoration of the Armenian Genocide.
In a letter, dated Feb 14, ANCA Chairman Ken Hachikian congratulated Secretary Kerry on his new position, noting his decades of friendship with Armenian Americans from his home state of Massachusetts. “We are especially pleased that, at this historic moment in our nation's foreign relations, our Department of State will be led by a Secretary with such a distinguished and extensive record, extending back well over three decades, of expertise and leadership on the policies, principles, and priorities of special concern to our community,” wrote Hachikian.
The letter went on to cite the broad array of Armenian American foreign policy concerns that the community regularly discusses with the Department of State, stressing that the ANCA looks forward to working with Secretary Kerry "on all the issues that [he] so ably advanced during [his] service in the Senate, among them strengthening U.S.-Armenia ties, ensuring security for the Republic of Nagorno Karabakh, protecting Armenians and other Christian populations in Syria, and, of course, ending Turkey's gag-rule on American recognition of the Armenian Genocide.” Hachikian continued noting, “In the spirit of open dialogue that has always characterized your relations with Armenian Americans, in Massachusetts and around the nation, we respectfully call upon you, prior to this April 24 commemoration of the Armenian Genocide, to host a meeting with the broad-based, collective leadership of our community.”
During his confirmation process, then Senator Kerry offered responses to a series of questions from Senators Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Robert Menendez (D-NJ) on Armenian American concerns. In his written responses, he highlighted the growth of relations between Armenia and the U.S., but, on the subject of the Armenian Genocide, reflected what ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian described as "President Obama's own public retreat, under pressure from Ankara, from his principled stand in support of a full and forthright American condemnation of Turkey's still unpunished crime against all of humanity."