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U.S. Senate to Debate Armenian Genocide Resolution

RIA Novosti

15:58 21/03/2012 YEREVAN, March 21 (RIA Novosti) - Two U.S. Senators have introduced a bill calling on the U.S. government to recognize the Armenian genocide by the Ottoman Empire in 1915-23, the Armenian Assembly of America (AAA) said on Wednesday.

The Turkish genocide in Armenia was first recognized by Uruguay in 1965. Many countries, including Russia, have since followed suit. In the U.S., where 42 states have recognized the genocide, the federal government has yet to pass a bill on the issue.

“It is time for the United States to join the 19 nations including Belgium, Canada, France, Italy and the European Union that have formally recognized the actions carried out by the Ottoman Empire from 1915 to 1923 as genocide,” Senator Robert Menendez said.

Menendez and his colleague Mark Kirk handed over the bill that was backed by seven senators and also Charles Schumer, the head of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.

“This resolution accurately characterizes the events of 1915-1923 as a genocide, honors the memory of the victims, and strengthens America’s moral leadership on human rights and the prevention of mass atrocities around the world,” said a spokesman for Senator Kirk.

The Ottoman Empire persecuted Armenians in the late 19th-early 20th centuries, allegedly massacring 1.5 million of them in 1915. Turkey, which has sought EU membership, denies the genocide accusations and bristles at any Western criticism on the issue.

Russia passed a resolution condemning the Armenian genocide in 1995.

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