International Leaders Remarks on Genocide

GLENDALE–International leaders and high officials of several countries around the world were swift to issue statemen’s and proclamations in recognition of the 83rd anniversary of the Armenian Genocide this past week–as Armenia’s joined together to mourn the 1.5 million victims of the century’s first mass extermination–which occurred at the hands of the Ottoman Turkish Empire between the years 1915 and 1923.

United States President Bill Clinton–who has come under fire recently for his failure to use the word–"genocide," to describe the events of April 24th–headed the list of international leaders issuing world-wide proclamations–releasing a statement Friday.

"This year–as in the past–we join with Armenian-Americans throughout the nation in commemorating one of the saddest chapters in the history of this century–the deportations and massacres of a million and a half Armenia’s in the Ottoman Empire in the years 1915-1923.

"This painful event from the past also serves as a powerful lesson for the future: that man’s inhumanity to man must not be tolerated–and that evil cannot conquer. The Armenian people have endured–surviving the ravages of two World Wars and seven decades of Soviet Rule. Throughout the world–and especially in this country–Armenia’s have contributed to the material–intellectual and spiritual lives of their adopted homes. Today’s Armenia’s are building a free and independent nation that stands as a living tribute to all those who died.

"The United States will continue working to preserve a free Armenia in a peaceful–stable and prosperous Caucasus region. In that spirit–I extend to all Armenia’s my best wishes on Remembrance Day in the fervent hope that those who died will never be forgotten." French Foreign Minister Hubert Vedrine added his name to the list of dignitaries speaking out in support of Armenia’s–releasing a statement April 23rd that called on Turkey to "go much further" in facing the historical facts of massacres of Armenia’s committed by Ottoman Turkish army from 1915 to 1917.

"We have never ceased to tell the leaders of Turkey that they should go much further…in authorizing historians to make objective and true researches on these events," Vedrine told the National Assembly.

Unlike the parliamen’s in Russia–Greece–Lebanon–the United States (House of Representatives) and Canada–the French National Assembly has not adopted any resolution recognizing the massacres of Armenia’s as "genocide." But former President Francois Mitterrand once used the word "genocide" to describe the massacres of Armenia’s. France has also repeatedly condemned the military operations against the Kurds by Turkish government forces.

The French Embassy in Armenia Saturday released a communiqu issued by French Prime Minister Lineal Jospin–reiterating the country’s firm support of Armenia in commemoration of the 1915 genocide.

"On the anniversary of the Genocide the Government of France stands together with its compatriots of Armenian and commemorates the 1915 massacre of Armenia’s–a tragedy that plunged the nation into grief and made it the victim of deportation. We join in the grief and feelings of Armenia’s," the statement read.

The communiqu also said that France had given refuge to tens of thousands of genocide victims.

"Today–those refugees are an integral part of the French public and make their own contribution to the wealth and variety of the French culture. The French government pays tribute to the genocide victims and respects their memory."

Speaker of the Russian State Duma–Gennady Seleznyov–sent a cable to his Armenian counterpart–Khosrov Arutyunyan–April 24th to "express sympathy and solidarity with the fraternal people of Armenia" in connection with the day commemorating victims of the 1915 genocide by the Turkish Ottoman Empire.

A special resolution to the U.N. Convention on Genocide–passed at the 54th session of the U.N. Human Rights Commission in April 1998–confirmed the importance attached by the international community to the prevention of a recurrence of the inhuman policy similar to that of Armenia’s in the Ottoman empire in 1915-1922–the cable says.

The speaker used the occasion to confirm the adherence of the Russian State Duma to a tendency of the rapprochement of the fraternal peoples–which occurred and consolidated in the past few years.

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