Genocide recognition sought Ex-U.S. ambassador to Armenia urges Congress to act on legislation

first_img“I join my fellow Americans and Armenian people around the world in commemorating this tragedy,” Bush said. “The world must never forget this painful chapter of its history.” A resolution on the issue – introduced by Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Pasadena, and others – has been stalled for years. But with Democrats now in charge of Congress, some believe it’s chance of passage is close than ever before. The administration continues to oppose the bill, citing a likely and dangerous rift between the United States and Turkey if it passes. Evans, who is writing a book due out in the spring about his tenure in Armenia and his subsequent departure from foreign service, said the State Department does not to his knowledge have a written policy against using the word genocide to describe the massacre of as many as 1.5 million Armenians. But, he said, the word is “taboo” in Washington and State Department officials refer to it internally as “the g-word.” Nearly two-dozen countries recognize the Armenian Genocide. Turkey, however, strenuously objects to the label. While Turkish officials widely acknowledge Armenians were killed, they place the number at about 300,000. They also note that Armenians joined forces with the French and Russians in the chaotic aftermath of World War I, and point out that thousands of Turks were killed as well. Evans on Tuesday said he believes all historical archives on the topic should become public and acknowledged there are unanswered questions on both sides. “Probably it is not possible to get agreement on all of the history, but if we could get agreement on some of the history, that would be progress,” he said. “You cannot have reconciliation without that important stage of recognizing the truth.” lisa.friedman@langnews.com (202) 662-8731 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! WASHINGTON – The former U.S. ambassador to Armenia called on Congress Tuesday to pass legislation officially recognizing the post-World War I slaughter of Armenians in Ottoman Turkey as a genocide. John Evans, who resigned his post after coming under fire from the State Department for calling the 1915 massacres “genocide” during a 2005 speech at the University of California at Berkeley, called congressional recognition the key to moving forward. “I do believe this Congress should pass this resolution,” Evans told a gathering at the National Press Club. “The current state of affairs is not good for Turkey, is not good for Armenia … and it’s not good for America.” Evans’ speech marked the anniversary of the start of the massacres. President George W. Bush issued a statement of remembrance, but stopped short of calling the killings a genocide. last_img read more