In a statement issued on Armenian Remembrance
Day April 24 -- the anniversary of the forced exile and
mass killings of as many as 1.5 million Armenians in 1915
-- President Bush applauded individuals in Armenia and Turkey
"who have sought to examine the historical events of
the early 20th century with honesty and sensitivity."
The United States remains committed to a
lasting and peaceful settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh
conflict and looks to a future of freedom, peace and prosperity
in Armenia and Turkey, The president's statement read.
Following is the text of the statement:
THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release
April 24, 2005
STATEMENT BY THE PRESIDENT
On Armenian Remembrance Day, we remember
the forced exile and mass killings of as many as 1.5 million
Armenians during the last days of the Ottoman Empire. This
terrible event is what many Armenian people have come to
call the "Great Calamity." I join my fellow Americans
and Armenian people around the world in expressing my deepest
condolences for this horrible loss of life.
Today, as we commemorate the 90th anniversary
of this human tragedy and reflect on the suffering of the
Armenian people, we also look toward a promising future
for an independent Armenian state. The United States is
grateful for Armenia's contributions to the war on terror
and to efforts to build a democratic and peaceful Iraq.
We remain committed to supporting the historic reforms Armenia
has pursued for over a decade. We call on the Government
of Armenia to advance democratic freedoms that will further
advance the aspirations of the Armenian people. We remain
committed to a lasting and peaceful settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh
conflict. We also seek a deeper partnership with Armenia
that includes security cooperation and is rooted in the
shared values of democratic and market economic freedoms.
I applaud individuals in Armenia and Turkey
who have sought to examine the historical events of the
early 20th century with honesty and sensitivity. The recent
analysis by the International Center for Transitional Justice
did not provide the final word, yet marked a significant
step toward reconciliation and restoration of the spirit
of tolerance and cultural richness that has connected the
people of the Caucasus and Anatolia for centuries. We look
to a future of freedom, peace, and prosperity in Armenia
and Turkey and hope that Prime Minister Erdogan's recent
proposal for a joint Turkish-Armenian commission can help
advance these processes.
Millions of Americans proudly trace their
ancestry to Armenia. Their faith, traditions, and patriotism
enrich the cultural, political, and economic life of the
United States. I appreciate all individuals who work to
promote peace, tolerance, and reconciliation.
On this solemn day of remembrance, I send
my best wishes and expressions of solidarity to Armenian
people around the world.