NEW HAVEN, CT — US President Barack Obama’s April 24 statement does not deny any of the facts, US Ambassador to Armenia John Heffern said in an interview with The Politic.
“The President’s statement on April 24 — he has made about four or five — is a very strong statement. It does not deny any of the facts. It clearly states that 1.5 million Armenians were massacred or were marshaled to death in the final days of the Ottoman Empire. It refers to these actions as one of the worst atrocities of the 20th century. It acknowledges the facts, and in our view, there is no dispute over the facts,” the Ambassador said.
“The policy decision about how the U.S. government characterizes this period is a policy decision, and it takes into account a number of legal and political factors, one of which is reconciliation. Our U.S. policy is to find ways to promote reconciliation between Turkey and Armenia and, through that reconciliation, to improve the lives of people in both countries. Certainly, Armenia needs that Turkish border open, needs diplomatic relations with its neighbor. It is in a semi-isolated state [that] is very detrimental to the state and to the economy. So U.S. policy is reconciliation between Armenia and Turkey. The President and Secretary of State — Secretaries Clinton and now Kerry — select and use words that they believe will promote that reconciliation, and that is why they have chosen the words they used,” John Heffern said.