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2000 Genocide Statement

Office of the Press Secretary
(New York, New York)
For Immediate Release April 24, 2000


Today we remember a great tragedy of the twentieth century: the deportations and massacres of roughly one and a half million Armenians in the final years of the Ottoman Empire. I join Armenians around the world, including the Armenian-American community, in mourning the loss of those innocent lives. I also extend my sympathy to the survivors and their descendants for the hardships they suffered. I call upon all Americans to renew their commitment to build a world where such events are not allowed to happen again. The lesson we must learn from the stark annals of history is that we must forge a more humane future for the peoples of all nations.

Our own society has benefited immeasurably from the contributions of Armenian-Americans. They have enriched every aspect of American life, from science, to commerce, to the arts. For the past eight and a half years, the Armenian people have been engaged in an historic undertaking to establish democracy and prosperity in the independent Republic of Armenia. Their courage, energy and resourcefulness inspire the admiration of all Americans, and we are proud to extend our assistance to help realize the dream of a vital and vibrant Armenia. The United States fully supports the efforts of Armenia and its neighbors to make lasting peace with one another and to begin an era of security and cooperation in the Caucasus region. We encourage any and all dialogue between citizens of the region that hastens reconciliation and understanding.

On behalf of the American people, I extend my best wishes to all Armenians on this solemn day of remembrance.


1996 Genocide Statement


April 24, 1996

Eighty-one years ago today, in the city of Constantinople, more than two hundred Armenian civic, political, and intellectual leaders were arrested, deported, and subsequently executed. That day marked the beginning of one of this century's darkest moments.

I join with Armenians around the world, on this solemn day, in commemorating the senseless deportations and massacres of one and a half million Armenians that took place from 1915 - 1923 in the Ottoman Empire. Tragically, our century has repeatedly borne witness to man's senseless inhumanity to man. Together we mourn the terrible loss of so many innocent lives.

Despite this tragedy, your faith and courage helped you survive and prosper. You never lost sight of your heritage; you preserved it and passed in on through the generations. As a result, Armenian Americans have made immense contributions to America's prosperity, science, and culture. Your great spirit also kept alive the dream of an independent Armenia and helped overcome Soviet rule. Today, that same spirit is helping to build a free and prosperous state in your homeland. Your contributions around the world, and now especially in Armenia, honor the memory of those who died unjustly in the massacres.

As we rededicate ourselves to the future of Armenia as a free and prosperous state secured by lasting peace with its neighbors, I extend to Armenians across the globe my heartfelt wishes for a meaningful observance.

Bill Clinton