Over strong Turkish objections, the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee narrowly approved a resolution yesterday recognizing the 1915 massacre of Armenian civilians as "genocide." An infuriated Turkish government has recalled its ambassador to Ankara for consultations.
The panel also acted against the recommendation of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who called committee chairman Rep. Howard Berman on Wednesday night to warn that the resolution could negatively impact Turkish-American relations as well as the ongoing Turkish-Armenian reconciliation process. Clinton, along with President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden, promised to recognize the genocide during her campaign for the presidency.
"I don't pretend to be a professional historian," Berman said before the vote, "but the vast majority of experts agree that the tragic massacre of Armenians constitutes a genocide." The nine-page resolution said the international community's failure to respond to the genocide was " a reason why similar genocides have recurred and may recur in the future."
A Turkish government statement condemned the vote, saying, "“This decision, which could adversely affect our co-operation on a wide common agenda with the US, also regrettably attests to a lack of strategic vision.”
The Armenian National Committee of America applauded the vote but said the real test will be whether the full house adopts the measure. After the committee in passed a similar measure in 2007, the Bush administration successfully lobbied to keep it from reaching the House floor.
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Asia and Pacific
- At the opening of China's National People's Congress, Wen Jiabao presented China's plan for economic growth.
- Twelve people were killed by a suicide bombing in Northwestern Pakistan.
- Eight people were arrested for an alleged plot to kill the prime minister of Fiji.
- Palestinian worshippers clashed with Israeli police at the Al Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, known to Jews as the Temple Mount.
- Iraqis living abroad began voting in their country's parliamentary elections.
- Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych is in Moscow for talks on improving relations with Russia.
- Icelanders will vote tomorrow in a referendum on whether to pay back British and Dutch investors who lost money in the collapse of internet bank IceSave.
- Anti-Islam Dutch politician Geert Wilders has returned to Britain after being banned from the country last year.
- In Costa Rica, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said that Latin American governments should recognize Honduras's government.
- Chile's president says it will take three years to rebuild the area decimated by last month's earthquake.
- The U.N.'s top envoy to Haiti said the country should proceed with its presidential election.
- Two grenade attacks hit the Rwandan capital of Kigali.
- A Rwandan general accused of genocide has reportedly taken refuge in South Africa.
- Togo's main opposition party is claiming fraud in yesterday's presidential election.
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