[Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: William J. Clinton (1995, Book I)]
[April 23, 1995]
[Pages 578-579]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office www.gpo.gov]



Statement on the 80th Anniversary of the Armenian Massacres
April 23, 1995

    On this solemn day, I join with Armenians throughout the United 
States, in Armenia, and around the world in remembering the 80th 
anniversary of the Armenians who perished, victims of massacres in the 
last years of the Ottoman

[[Page 579]]

Empire. Their loss is our loss, their courage a testament to mankind's 
indomitable spirit.
    It is this spirit that kept the hope of Armenians alive through the 
centuries of persecution. It is this spirit that lives today in the 
hearts of all Armenians, in their church, in their language, in their 
culture. And it is this spirit that underpins the remarkable resilience 
and courage of Armenians around the world. The Armenian-American 
community, now nearly one million strong, has made enormous 
contributions to America. Now, with the emergence of an independent 
Armenia, the Armenian people are bringing the same determination to 
building democracy and a modern economy in their native land.
    Even as we commemorate the past--which we must never forget--we 
commit ourselves today to Armenia's future as an independent and 
prosperous nation, at peace with its neighbors and with close ties to 
the West. That is why the United States has provided more than $445 
million in assistance to alleviate humanitarian needs and support 
democratic and economic reform. I will do everything in my power to 
preserve assistance levels for Armenia.
    I continue to be deeply concerned about the conflict in the region 
surrounding Armenia. The terrible effects of this war have been felt 
throughout the Caucasus: tens of thousands have died, more than a 
million have been displaced, economies have been shattered, and security 
threatened. The United States is committed to working with the 
Organization on Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) to encourage 
Armenia and Azerbaijan to move beyond their cease-fire to a lasting 
political settlement. I plan to nominate a Special Negotiator for 
Nagorno-Karabakh at the rank of Ambassador to advance those 
negotiations. And I pledge United States support of OSCE efforts to back 
that settlement with a peacekeeping force.
    The U.S. also seeks to encourage the regional cooperation that will 
build prosperity and reinforce peace. I commend the recent decision of 
the Government of Turkey to open air corridors to Armenia, which will 
make assistance delivery faster, cheaper, and more reliable. We had 
urged that it do so and hope this is a first step toward lifting other 
blockades in the region, initially for humanitarian deliveries and then 
overall. Open borders would help create the conditions needed for 
economic recovery and development, including construction of a Caspian 
oil pipeline through the Caucasus to Turkey, which is a key to long-term 
prosperity in the region.
    The administration's efforts, assistance in support of reform, 
reinforced efforts toward peace settlement, building broad regional 
cooperation and encouraging the development of a Caspian oil pipeline 
through the Caucasus to Turkey, represent the key building blocks of 
U.S. policy to support the development of an independent and prosperous 
Armenia.
    On this 80th anniversary of the Armenian massacres, I call upon all 
people to work to prevent future acts of such inhumanity. And as we 
remember the past, let us also rededicate ourselves to building a 
democratic Armenia of prosperity and lasting peace.