February 26, 2013 - 15:30 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - The Armenian National Committee of Australia (ANC Australia) has slammed Foreign Affairs Minister Bob Carr for a monumental U-Turn on his stance regarding the Armenian Genocide.
Carr, as Premier of Australia's largest state of New South Wales, led his government to a unanimous recognition of the Armenian Genocide in 1997. The motion had called on the Federal government of Australia to follow NSW and recognise the Armenian Genocide too.
Now, as Australia's Foreign Minister and a key member of the Federal government, Carr said that his Federal government takes "no stand on this historic dispute".
Carr was questioned by ANC Australia Executive Director Vache Kahramanian on this position at a recently-held public event hosted by The Lowy Institute. He responded with this: “As a Government we don’t take a stand on this historic dispute.”
Kahramanian said: “Calling the Armenian Genocide a ‘historic dispute’ and deciding to not take a stand means Senator Carr has fallen into the camp of Armenian Genocide deniers, which is confusing after he helped lead efforts to have NSW become Australia’s first state to recognise the Armenian Genocide in 1997.”
“This U-Turn is unacceptable to the Armenian community in Australia and to Armenians the world over, particular the many millions of us who are descendants of survivors of the Armenian Genocide,” Kahramanian added.
ANC Australia wrote to Carr, calling for his return to his long held position, and this letter was personally delivered to the him by Kahramanian.
A response was received from Carr’s Department (DFAT), which said: “Although various groups at state and local level have expressed or might express different views … these do not represent Australian Government policy.”
ANC Australia has released a document titled ‘Bob Carr’s Track Record on the Armenian Genocide’, which outlines his many years of activism through a compilation of speeches, letters and statements in the New South Wales Parliament.
“The compilation of Bob Carr’s track record serves as a reminder of the great advocate he once was. We call upon Bob Carr to retract his comments and publicly acknowledge the historical reality of the Armenian Genocide, as he did on multiple occasions as NSW Premier,” Kahramanian said.
“The issue of any genocide should never be used for political maneuvering or political gain. Dishonouring the victims of such heinous crimes sends a clear signal to future perpetrators that they can act with impunity when other nations find it politically convenient.“
ANC Australia has publicly and personally called for a meeting with the Foreign Minister to immediately address the issue.