In a speech hailing the work of Holocaust survivor and Nobel peace laureate Elie Wiesel, U.S. ambassador to UN Samantha Power spoke about injustices that continue to this day.
“Genocide denial against the Armenians. The horrors of his [Elie Wiesel’s] lifetime, Paulpat, Bosnia, Darfur, Syria.”
The Armenian Genocide is a charged issue for the U.S., as its NATO ally Turkey reacts angrily to any attempts to call the massacres of 1,5 million Armenians committed by the Ottoman Empire in 1915 as Genocide.
When he first ran for president, Barak Obama promised he would recognize the killings as genocide if elected. But he has repeatedly stopped short of doing so. Marking Armenian Remembrance Day in April, Obama called the killings the first mass atrocity of the 20th century and a tragedy that must not be repeated.
Before entering government, Power was a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who wrote extensively about America’s responses to genocide. Officials say she has lobbied hard behind the scenes for Obama to formally recognize the Armenian killings as genocide.
State Department spokesman Mark Toner said there has been no change in U.S. policy after my good friend Haykaram Nahapetyan asked him about Samantha Power’s words.