May 17, 2002

WASHINGTON, DC — The Armenian National Institute (ANI) this week applauded yet another milestone in the affirmation of the Armenian Genocide when a senior North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) envoy called the 1915 Armenian killings “Genocide.”

Speaking at a news conference in Yerevan following his two-day visit to Armenia, Chairman of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly Rafael Estrella said, “I am not a lawyer but a politician who represents a country. I am a human being with his own perception of the world, and I have to say that those events can be considered genocide. It is difficult to find such a massive display of violence, destruction and killing in history.”

Writing in the guest book during a visit to the Armenian Genocide Memorial, Estrella said, “The horrors, destruction and deliberate annihilation of people presented in this museum are a constant lesson for history and must never recur. We must finally eliminate genocide from our reality.”

The NATO Parliamentary Assembly Chairman joins a string of high-profile affirmations in the past year, notably by the Vatican, the European Parliament and France and earlier, Italy, Sweden and Belgium. It comes less than a month after U.S. President George W. Bush’s April 24th statement in which he characterized the killing of 1.5 million Armenians as “murder.”

“ANI welcomes this latest public affirmation of the Armenian Genocide, its sincerity backed by NATO’s announcement formally upgrading Armenia’s relations with the Parliamentary Assembly,” said ANI Board of Governors Chairman Robert A. Kaloosdian. “Clearly, the momentum toward affirming the Armenian tragedy is increasing. It behooves the current Turkish Government to come to terms sooner rather than later with the horrific actions of its Ottoman forefathers so that Armenians and Turks alike may together build a better future in the region.”

During their visit to the memorial in Yerevan, the NATO envoy and his delegation laid a wreath in honor of the victims of the 1915 Armenian Genocide.

The Armenian National Institute is dedicated to the study, research, remembrance and re-affirmation of the Armenian Genocide. Please visit the ANI Web site: