WASHINGTON (Today’s Zaman)–US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates has expressed regret over a US House committee’s vote to approve a resolution recognizing the Armenian Genocide, warning of probable “damaging” impacts of vote on Turkey-US relations.
During an interview with the Al Arabiya television channel broadcast on Friday, Gates was asked about whether he was worried, given that Turkey withdrew its ambassador to the US in reaction to the March 4 vote and that Turkey may have threatened to withhold military assistance to the United States.
“I am worried about it. I will say that it was just one committee of the House of Representatives that voted on this resolution,” Gates responded, according to the transcript of the interview posted on the Defense Department’s Web site.
“We very strongly feel that the resolution is a mistake. Turkey and Armenia are making progress toward a reconciliation. Protocols have been drafted along those lines. That’s the process that we think ought to be used. A resolution of this kind could be very damaging to US-Turkish relations, and we certainly hope that the Congress and the House of Representatives take this measure no further,” Gates added.
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton — who had urged the House Foreign Affairs Committee not to hold the vote on March 4 — said on March 5: “We are against this decision. Now we believe that the US Congress will not take any decision on this subject.”