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Saturday, March 06, 2010

Obama administration seeks to block House vote on Armenian genocide resolution
Jonathan Cohen at 3:02 PM ET

[JURIST] A spokesperson for the US State Department [official website] said Friday that the Obama administration opposes [daily press briefing] a vote before the full House of Representatives on a resolution [H Res 252 text] branding the World War I-era killings of Armenians by Turkish forces as genocide [JURIST news archive]. Assistant Secretary of State Philip Crowley said, "that any further congressional action will impede the normalization process between Turkey and Armenia." Even though Turkey has recalled its ambassador to the US, Crowley said that the State Department believes:

that the best way for Turkey and Armenia to address their shared past is through their ongoing effort to normalize relations. We have been in contact with Turkish and Armenian officials at the highest levels to urge timely ratification of the protocols, and we look forward to continuing dialogue with them.

Crowley noted that the State Department doesn't "think any further congressional action is appropriate."

The US House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs [official website] passed the resolution [JURIST report] Thursday by a vote of 23-22, even after Obama administration officials had urged the committee not to hold the vote [NYT report], fearing that such a resolution could damage relations with Turkey. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Teyyip Erdogan [official website, in Turkish] condemned the resolution [press release, in Turkish], and the Turkish government pulled its ambassador to the US. A similar resolution was passed by the committee in 2007, but it never reached the House floor [JURIST reports].

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