Britain’s Blair Urged to Recognize Genocide

LONDON–A group of Parliamentarians from both Houses of Parliament will be presenting a Petition to British Prime Minister Tony Blair Wednesday at 10 Downing Street–calling on the British Government to recognize –as a case of genocide –the mass-killings of Armenia’s in the Ottoman Empire in 1915.

It is the first time that Members of Parliament are handing petitions –supporting the application and advocating on behalf of the a British-Armenian group and it is the first time that petitions will be received by the Prime Minister .

The Petition is signed by 57 Parliamentarians and thousands of British citizens–among them artists–bankers historians–scholars –businessmen and teachers. The British–Armenian and international media have been invited to report. A letter –drafted by the Members of the Advisory Board ( historians and holocaust experts invited by the Group ) –will accompany the petitions.

This presentation–following the magnificent "Requiem Service to commemorate the victims of the Genocide" at St. Margaret`s Church–Westminster on May 8–has been organized by the British-Armenian All-Party Parliamentary Group and the Parliamentarians attending the presentation are Members of the Group.

Meanwhile–during what is termed an "Early Day Motion" parliament member Jane Griffiths and a written question by Lord Walpole have been presented to the government –in both Houses–urging the government to recognize the Genocide.

The BAAPPG was founded in 1992 by the Earl of Shannon and Odette Bazil and Dr. Armen Sarkissian–its founding President–who was unanimously elected life-president on May 4.

At the Group’s initiative–the corresponding Group–namely the Armenian-British Parliamentary Group has been founded in Yerevan within the Armenian Parliament.

The Group ( the largest among Parliamentary Groups of the former Soviet Union ) has 31 Members at the House of Commons –27 Peers at the House of Lords and "Friends" ( non-Parliamentarians) who help with their financial contribution. Its objective is to encourage two way flow of information between the UK and Armenia in Parliamentary activities –to foster friendship and understanding at the highest level between UK and Armenia–to lay the foundation for long term cooperation between the two countries –which will assist in the development of a stable democratic system in Armenia–to organize debates in both Houses of Parliament –where important political –military –judicial –economic –religious and educational issues concerning Armenia can be discussed and where influence can be exerted –through majority support–over beneficiary changes of governmental policies towards Armenia.

The Group has organized exchange visits of Parliamentary Delegations–talks by eminent speakers–debates in both Houses–concerning Karabakh–double-taxation between Britain and Armenia–arms sale to Azerbaijan–British mercenaries enrollment in Azerbaijan–exchange of POWs –bilateral relations with Turkey–Armenia’s membership in the European Union–the blockades imposed by Turkey and Azerbaijan–the recognition of the Armenian Genocide–the lobbying for British Embassy to open in Armenia and British Council’s presence in Armenia.

Round-table discussions have been held to discuss the oil routes–the Transcaucasus–land-mines in Karabakh–the British government’s policies vis–vis Armenia and the recognition of the Armenian Genocide.

The Group has organized meetings and receptions in honor of visiting Armenian dignitaries–and addresses in the Houses of Parliament–where they have put forward the views of their government.

With the support of its Parliamentary members –the BAAPPG has been the stepping stone for the launch–in Armenia–of the English-speaking Union–the Byron Society of Armenia–the signing of the "Friendship Agreement between Gumri and Hucknall" and the training visit of Armenian civil servants of the Ministry of Social Services

The group has been able to issue monthly circulars to its Members and keep them well informed of the situation in Armenia and Karabakh.

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