Armenia Welcomes 'Genocide' Vote
Posted on: 2007-10-11 12:30:47

Mr Kocharyan hopes the US will now fully recognise the "genocide"

Armenia's president has welcomed a vote by US lawmakers backing the description of the mass killings of Armenians by Ottoman Turks after 1915 as genocide.

Robert Kocharyan told reporters he hoped the vote would lead to "full [US] recognition... of the genocide".

Earlier Turkish President Abdullah Gul denounced the vote. Turkey has always denied any genocide took place.

The White House has also been critical, expressing fears Turkey could stop co-operating in the "war on terror".

The non-binding vote, passed by 27 to 21 votes by members of the congressional House Foreign Affairs Committee, is the first step towards holding a vote in the House of Representatives.

Divisions within the committee crossed party lines with eight Democrats voting against the measure and eight Republicans voting for it.

President Bush had argued against a vote in favour of the bill, saying "its passage would do great harm to our relations with a key ally in Nato and in the global war on terror".

Turkey is a regional operational hub for the US military, and some suggest access to Incirlik airbase, or other supply lines crucial to US forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, could be cut in response.

The row has also erupted as US fears grow of a Turkish military incursion into northern Iraq to neutralise Kurdish separatist guerrillas there, who continue to cross the border to ambush Turkish troops, reports the BBC's diplomatic correspondent Jonathan Marcus.


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