YEREVAN (RFE/RL)–Armenia welcomed the endorsement by a US congressional panel of two resolutions on Friday recognizing the Armenian genocide and expressed hope that they would pass the full House of Representatives.
"We welcome the decision by the House International Relations Committee and consider it to be yet another step towards international recognition of the Armenian Genocide," commented Armenia’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamlet Gasparian.
"We hope that the issue will be put before the full House of Representatives and that it will discuss and adopt the resolutions," Gasparian said.
The resolutions urge President Bush to "accurately characterize the systematic and deliberate annihilation of 1,500,000 Armenia’s as genocide" and call on Turkey to "acknowledge the culpability of its predecessor state–the Ottoman Empire."
The overwhelming approval by the House panel on Thursday was also welcomed by leaders of Armenia’s main political parties represented in parliament.
There was no immediate reaction to Thursday’s congressional votes from Turkey which denies that what happened in its territory 90 years ago constituted a genocide and has condemned 16 countries that have recognized the Armenian tragedy. In a letter to House International Relations Committee members–the US State Department warned that the debate "could damage US-Turkish relations and could undermine progress by Ankara and Yerevan as they begin quiet talks to address the issue and look to the future."
But Gasparian disagreed. "I wouldn’t like to link the resolutions adopted by third countries to Turkish-Armenian relations," he said. "As far as I know–the parliamen’s that have recognized the Armenian genocide urged Turkey in one way or another to normalize its relations with Armenia."