TODAY.AZ / Politics

U.S. ambassador to Turkey: Bush administration will oppose Armenian genocide resolution

01 February 2007 [01:20] - TODAY.AZ
The U.S. ambassador to Turkey said Wednesday that the Bush administration would actively oppose a resolution to recognize the deaths of 1.5 million Armenians at the end of World War I as genocide.

Democratic and Republican lawmakers introduced the resolution at a press conference on Tuesday. The Bush administration has warned that even congressional debate on the topic could damage relations with Turkey, a NATO member with close ties to the United States.

"The Administration will be actively involved with Congress to oppose this resolution," U.S. Ambassador to Turkey Ross Wilson said in a statement e-mailed to news organizations in Turkey. "The Bush Administration's position on this issue has not changed."

In keeping with traditional U.S. policy, Wilson's statement referred to the killings as "tragic events that took place at the end of the Ottoman Empire," not as genocide.

Turkey has adamantly denied that its predecessor state, the Ottoman government, caused the Armenian deaths in a planned genocide. The Turkish government has said the death toll is inflated, and that Armenians were killed or displaced in civil unrest during the disarray surrounding the empire's collapse.

Despite strong Turkish opposition, however, an increasing number of governments are recognizing the killings as genocide.

Rep. Adam Schiff, a Democrat from California, and other lead sponsors of the resolution in the U.S. House of Representatives, say they have commitments from more than 150 other members who wanted to add their names as co-sponsors after the legislation's introduction.

That would be a strong show of support in the 435-member body.

The resolution's supporters say that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who has expressed her support, is likely to come under pressure from the Bush administration to keep the House from voting. The Associated Press

/The International Herald Tribune/

URL: http://www.today.az/news/politics/35749.html

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