Deputy Foreign Minister Hailed Diaspora on Genocide Bill

YEREVAN (Armenpress)–Armenia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Arman Kirakosian Friday welcomed and supported the efforts by the Armenian Diaspora to ensure the passage of a Genocide resolution in Congress. He added that since the Armenian government was unable to lobby for the resolution the efforts of the Diaspora were applauded. Speaking at a news conference Kirakosian added that the passage of such a resolution did not indicate that Turkey would follow suit and recognize the genocide. Kirakosian said US recognition of the genocide would be a very important move. Turkey’s strained relationship with the Bush administration is likely to worsen after foreign minister, Abdullah Gul, failed to make significant progress on Ankara’s main objectives in Washington this week. One of Abdullah Gul’s week-long visit’s objectives was to lobby against the Armenia resolution. However, the proposed genocide resolution is backed by key lawmakers, including Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, who was unable to meet with Gul, due scheduling conflicts, as reported by her office. "Turkey will do everything possible to block the resolution’s passage and the US administration will in turn do what it can not to further worsen relationships with Ankara while American-Armenian organizations will do their best to have the resolution passed," explained Kirakosian. Asked to comment on Gul’s remarks that the resolution’s passage would greatly harm US-Turkish relationship, State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said, "That’s his assessment, we take him at his word." But McCormack also said: "We understand the sensitivities in Turkey. We also understand the sensitivities in other communities in the United States and other places around the world." Kirakosian, once again, reiterated Armenia’s willingness to establish relations with Turkey, without preconditions. He added, however, that Turkey insisted on placing conditions on any dialogue including demanding a pro-Azeri end to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. Speaking about his visit to Turkey to participate in Hrant Dink’s funeral, Kirakosian said that he talked with Gul on the phone and later met with his representative. "While speaking about Armenian-Turkish relations it was notable that the Turkish authorities and businessmen want to improve the relations," he said, adding that unlike the authorities the Turkish businessmen do not place pre-conditions for opening the Armenian-Turkish border.

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