President Serzh Sarkisian gave on Tuesday Armenian state awards to three U.S. legislators who have for years pressed Congress to recognize the Armenian massacres in the Ottoman Empire as genocide.
Sarkisian’s office said Senator Mark Kirk and Representatives Anna Eshoo and Brad Sherman will receive Mkhitar Gosh medals in recognition of their “significant contribution to international recognition of the Armenian genocide.” It said they have also helped to “strengthen and develop Armenian-American friendly ties.”
All three lawmakers have sponsored Armenian genocide resolutions sought by the influential Armenian community in the United States.
Kirk and another senator, Robert Menendez, introduced one such draft resolution in the U.S. Senate as recently as last month. It calls on President Barack Obama to “accurately characterize the systematic and deliberate annihilation of 1,500,000 Armenians as genocide.”
“The Armenian Genocide is well-documented and formally recognized by 11 NATO allies and the European Union,” Kirk said on March 19.
A Republican from Illinois, Kirk was a member of the House of Representatives and co-headed its Armenian Caucus with a Democratic congressman before being elected to the Senate in November 2010.
Eshoo and Sherman, both of them Democrats from California, are also members of the bipartisan caucus. Eshoo is the only member of Congress who has ethnic Armenian origin.