Clinton promises hard fight to block Armenian "genocide" resolution
The government of US President Barack Obama will work very hard to block the "Armenian genocide" resolution now working its way through US Congress, US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said Friday in Guatemala.
Clinton told a press conference that the Obama Administration will seek to prevent the resolution from coming to a full vote in the House of Representatives.
She had previously met with Guatemalan President Alvaro Colom in the last stage of a Latin American tour that has also taken her to Uruguay, Argentina, Chile, Brazil and Costa Rica.
The US House of Representatives' Foreign Affairs committee Thursday passed the bill which recognizes the mass murders of Armenians during World War I as a "genocide.", dpa reported.
House speaker Nancy Pelosi must now decide whether to bring the non-binding resolution to a full vote. Ankara has warned that the bill's further progress could seriously damage ties between NATO allies Turkey and the US.
The Obama administration has opposed the House resolution, saying it could disrupt ongoing reconciliation talks between Turkey and Armenia, which are strongly backed by the United States. In addition, Turkey is a key member of NATO, strategically placed within the Middle East.
Obama telephoned Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Wednesday to give reassurances.
The Turkish ambassador to Washington, Namik Tan, was recalled to Ankara for consultations soon after the committee approved the resolution, with a narrow 23-22 vote.
Armenians contend that up to 1.5 million of their own were systematically killed by the Ottoman Turks during World War I. Turkey has long denied the "genocide" claim, saying the number of Armenians killed was much lower and that the deaths were the result of violent turbulence that also affected other groups at the time.