Armenia files protest over British refusal to recognize ‘genocide’

Agence France Presse
March 19, 2004 Friday 9:25 AM Eastern Time

Armenia files protest over British refusal to recognize ‘genocide’


Armenia said on Friday that it had lodged an official protest after
Britain’s ambassador denied that “genocide” was committed when the
Ottoman Empire killed up 1.5 million Armenians, according to
Armenia’s count, at the end of World War I.

The issue of whether various nations recognize that “genocide” was
committed is one of the most sensitive in Armenia.

The episode also remains one of the most controversial in Turkish
history. Turkey recognizes that 300,000 Armenians had died along with
a large number of Turks at the end of the war.

“We regret the position,” taken by British ambassador Thorda
Abbott-Watt, foreign ministry spokesman Hamlet Gasparyan told AFP.

“Every country has a right to make up its own mind on this, based on
their own strategic interests. But on Armenian soil, the ambassadors
have to be more sensitive and delicate.”

Abbott-Watt recently told the California Courier, an English-language
weekly run by the Armenian diaspora in the United States, that “the
British government had condemned the massacre as an atrocity at the

“But the evidence was not sufficiently unequivocal that what took
place could be categorized as genocide under the 1948 United Nations
Convention on Genocide.”

She added that Armenia and Turkey had to “look into the future” and
stop squabbling over the one word.

One Armenian newspaper ran a series of letters from its readers
demanding that the British ambassador make a public apology for her