Adam Schiff: Necessary to combine efforts ahead of 2015 to reach recognition of the Armenian Genocide

Lilit Sedrakyan
Public Radio of Armenia
Los Angeles

Fourteen months before the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide it’s necessary to combine efforts to reach recognition, Rep. Adam Schiff said in an interview with Public Radio of Armenia. Adoption of the Armenian Genocide bill, the support to Christians of Syria, ensuring US assistance to Armenia and Artsakh and a number of other Armenia-related issues will be on the Congressman’s agenda in 2014.

The first thing Schiff plans to do in 2014 is to organize the display of the Armenian Orphan Rug.  In 1925, a group of Armenian orphans who had been relocated to Ghazir, now in Lebanon, wove a rug, now known as the ‘orphan rug,’ and gave it as a gift to US President Calvin Coolidge. The rug is now kept at the White House.

Adam Schiff’s earlier request to display the rug was turned down by the Obama Administration. According to the Congressman, the rug is a good means to draw attention to the Armenian Genocide.

“The White House is now considering our proposal. We have made it clear that we want to work with them to organize the display of the rug, and their refusal is unacceptable. I hope they will agree. If, not we have a different solution. There is an Armenian Orphan Sister Rug, which we’ll display at the event,” the Congressman said.

It’s necessary to mobilize efforts ahead of the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide and urge to recognize it, Adam Schiff said, voicing hope that the US President will do and say more than has done as a presidential candidate and as a Senator. He noted that after the by-elections it will become clear whether the Genocide bill enjoys the support of the majority of Congressmen or not. At the same time, he stressed that they will maintain the pressure on both the House of Representatives and the Obama Administration.

Asked about the main obstacles to realization of the plans, Schiff said: “The main reason is the active opposition of the well-funded Turkish lobby. Another factor is the resistance of the most American and Turkish leaders.” He explained that many former Secretaries of State and Defense Secretaries also followed the policy of preventing the recognition of the Armenian Genocide, and they do not want the current administration to change the position. “The Turkish lobby and money is working against us today. Supporting us we have the Armenian Diaspora, the eyewitnesses of the Genocide and their relatives,” Schiff said.

Among the priorities in the Congress is the assistance to the Armenians and other Christian communities in Syria. “The religious minorities in Syria face a serious danger of being killed, tortured, kidnapped, forced to change the religion, which resembles the medieval times. Undoubtedly, this is the greatest humanitarian crisis in the world. There is no answer as to why the congress does not make efforts to end this humanitarian disaster. We provide a huge material assistance to Syrian refugees in Turkey, Jordan, Armenia and elsewhere, but taking efforts to end the conflict is quite a different thing, and this should be a priority for us,” Schiff said.

Rep. Schiff denounced the subversive attacks at the Line of Contact, which claimed the life of an Armenian soldier. “The death of the Armenian soldier is a tragic loss and another manifestation of the dangerous and bloody actions of the Azeri forces, which should be condemned by the world,” he said.

“Unfortunately far from creating an environment where a peaceful resolution of the Nagorno Karabakh conflict could be reached, President Aliyev and his administration continue to support the incidents at the border,” he said, adding that for resolving the conflict the leaders of the three countries – Armenia, Artsakh and Azerbaijan – should prepare their peoples to a peaceful resolution. “Instead, the Azerbaijani leaders are preaching hatred towards Armenians and encouraging the use of violence,” he said.

What’s happening on the Armenian side is not happening on the Azerbaijani side. The Azerbaijani people must be prepared for a peaceful settlement, while the leadership is taking no steps in that direction,” the Congressman concluded. 

Show More
Back to top button