Canadian Foreign Minister Reaffirms His Government’s Recognition of Genocide.

OTTAWA–Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister Peter MacKay reaffirmed his government’s recognition of the Armenian Genocide, during a round table discussion with the National Ethnic Press and Media Council on Nov. 8. The minister also clarified his position on the Turkish Government’s proposal to create a historians’ commission to study the Armenian Genocide. Minister MacKay assured the Canadian-Armenian community that the Canadian Government’s policy on the recognition of the Armenian Genocide has "not changed. Nothing has changed in that regard," stressed MacKay. In response to a question from Aris Babikian, Horizon Weekly representative to NEPMCC and the executive director of the Armenian National Committee of Canada, MacKay stated: "Canada would support a joint study that would involve participation from academics from both countries with the inclusion, perhaps, a neutral country that would be acceptable to both. So a dialogue around what is clearly incredibly sensitive and loaded issue could lead to greater meeting of minds plus an opening of a dialogue on other important issuestrade, travel, greater communication, the blockade of Armeniais useful exercise that might bring about some greater healing." In response to studies by more than 450 historians and international organizations confirming the uncontested historical reality of the Armenian Genocide, MacKay said: "I am not disputing what you [Babikian] said in terms of the amount of study that has accrued already." In a related story, Robert Kocharian, president of Armenia, replied to Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s proposal to form a historians’ commission by saying: "A suggestion to address the past cannot be effective if it deflects from addressing the present and the future. In order to engage in a useful dialogue, we need to create the appropriate and conducive political environment. It is the responsibility of governmen’s to develop bilateral relations and we do not have the right to delegate that responsibility to historians. That is why we have proposed and propose again that, without pre-conditions, we establish normal relations between our two countries."Minister MacKay’s clarifications are greatly appreciated by the ANCC and the Canadian Armenian Community. To build neighborly and friendly relations Armenia and Turkey must talk and establish joint intergovernmental commissions to discuss all outstanding issues between the two countries," said Babikian. "After all Armenia and Turkey are bound to coexist and prosper next to each other." The ANCC is the largest and the most influential Canadian-Armenian grassroots political organization. Working in coordination with a network of offices, chapters, and supporters throughout Canada and affiliated organizations around the world, the ANCC actively advances the concerns of the Canadian-Armenian community on a broad range of issues.

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