WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Foreign Relations Committee approved 12-5 an amended resolution that would acknowledge the roughly 2 million Armenians who were deported from their homes by the Ottoman Empire, nearly 1.5 million of whom were the victims of state-sponsored killings.
The Senate panel on April 10 advanced separate resolutions that would call for the remembrance of genocides that occurred in Armenia in 1915 and Rwanda in 1994, the anniversaries of which both fall in April, and backed a slate of foreign service promotions following a dispute over ambassadorial nominees who have not been confirmed by the Senate.
“I think the Armenian genocide is a horrible factual reality that can never be denied,” said Chairman Robert Menendez, D-N.J. The measure would direct President Barack Obama to work toward an equitable relationship between Armenia and Turkey.
The Turkish government has denied its involvement in the systematic expelling and killing of its Armenian minority population between 1915 and 1923.
The resolution would also direct Obama to make sure future U.S. foreign policy decisions reflect an understanding of issues related to human rights, crimes against humanity and ethnic cleansing.
Ranking member Bob Corker, R-Tenn., raised concerns that the resolution, which calls on Turkey to recognize the Armenian genocide as a historical fact, would signal U.S. involvement in a conflict that was exclusively between Armenia and Turkey.
Menendez maintained that the U.S. should support Armenia. “I just don’t think you can pick and choose your genocides. Genocides are genocides,” he said.
VOTE COUNT: YES vote on Armenian Genocide Resolution Robert Menendez (NJ) – Chairman Barbara Boxer (CA) Richard Durbin (IL) Ed Markey (MA) Ben Cardin (MD) Tom Udall (NM) Tim Kaine (VA) Chris Murphy (CT) Jeanne Shaheen (NH) Chris Coons (DE) Marco Rubio (FL) John McCain (AZ) NO vote on Armenian Genocide Resolution Bob Corker (TN) John Barrasso (WY) Jeff Flake (AZ) James Risch (ID) Ron Johnson (WI) Not Present Rand Paul (KY)
(Amrita Khalid, CQ Roll Call)