State Department Says Schiff Amendment Should Not Become Law

WASHINGTON–DC (Combined Sources)–US State Department Spokesman Richard Boucher announced last week that the US Administration "strongly opposes" the Schiff Amendment which passed the House last Thursday–and was added to the fiscal year 2005 foreign aid bill that later passed by a vote of 365 to 41.

Rep. Adam Schiff’s amendment would deny Turkey the use of US foreign aid money to lobby against the Armenian genocide resolution.

"It should not become law," the State Department statement said–describing the amendment as detrimental to "reconciliation between Turkey and Armenia in pursuit of regional peace and economic cooperation," goals it referred to as being pursued by Turkey and Armenia "through direct meetings."

"Turkey–our key NATO ally–and Armenia–our close friend–are partners in the Global War on Terror and in advancing democracy–prosperity and stability in the Caucasus. Our goal is to bolster cooperation between these two countries rather than to separate them."

The statement welcomed House Leadership’s (Speaker Hastert–Majority Leader DeLay and Majority Whip Blunt) strong opposition to the amendment and their commitment to crushing it in conference.

"We welcome the Leadership’s recognition of the important relationship with our reliable ally and friend Turkey and of the need for continued close economic and security relations between our countries," the statement says in closing.

In their statement issued immediately after the passage of the Schiff Amendment–the House Leadership announced they would not schedule the Genocide Resolution (HR 193) during the remainder of this Congress. "Our relationship with Turkey is too important to us to allow it to be in any way damaged by a poorly crafted and ultimately meaningless amendment."

The foreign aid bill discuss its version of bill–Senate version compared to House version–

In the upcoming weeks the Senate will begin consideration of its version of the 2005 foreign aid bill; following its adoption on the Senate floor–House and Senate appropriators will convene a conference to iron out differences between the House and Senate versions of the bill.

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