New OSCE co-chair: Armenian journalists NK resolution in US interest

New OSCE co-chair tells Armenian journalists Karabakh resolution in US
interest

Arminfo
19 Apr 04

YEREVAN

The new US cochairman of the OSCE Minsk Group, Steven Mann, intends to
represent the US national interests in his post. This was announced by
him at a press conference in Yerevan today [19 April].

“The US government has clearly stated that it is in the American
national interest to work for a peaceful resolution of the Nagornyy
Karabakh conflict within the OSCE Minsk Group,” Mann said. He said he
intends to work purposefully and honestly in this direction.

He also said he was glad to be back in Armenia and recalled that he
was the first American diplomat to lead the US embassy which opened in
Armenia in 1992. He said he was satisfied with the talks he had today
with Armenian President Robert Kocharyan.

As for the content of the “Prague meeting” of the Armenian and
Azerbaijani foreign ministers, and co-chairmen of the OSCE Minsk
Group, Mann said that “useful discussions took place” but wished to
keep diplomatic confidentiality.

Responding to a question about the dates for his visit to Nagornyy
Karabakh, Mann said that he will visit it but could not give a
specific date. “There isn’t much time during this visit,” he
said. Mann will receive the foreign minister of the Nagornyy Karabakh
Republic, Ashot Gulyan, this evening.

Speaking about the reasons for his appointment, Mann said that in
taking the decision they took into consideration the fact that Mann
knows the region well and has worked over the past 25 years in the
Caucasus and in the former Soviet Union.

>From Yerevan, the new co-chairman will leave for Tbilisi, and then
Baku.

Canadian Parliament, With Overwhelming Majority, Recognizes Genocide

Armenian National Committee of Canada
3401 Olivar-Asselin
Montreal, Quebec
H4J 1L5
Tel. (514) 334-1299 Fax (514) 334-6853

April 21, 2004

The Canadian Parliament, With Overwhelming Majority, Recognizes the Armenian
Genocide
–A Historic Day for Canadian-Armenians

OTTAWA, April 21 – On the eve of the 89th anniversary of the Armenian
Genocide, the Canadian House of Commons, with overwhelming majority,
recognized the Armenian Genocide. The non-partisan vote was 153 for 68
against. When the result of the vote was announced, the House of Commons
chamber, which was packed with Armenians from Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto and
other Canadian cities, burst in applause and ringing `bravo.’ Tears of joy
could be seen in the eyes of many Armenians.

Motion M-380, which reads: `That this House acknowledges the Armenian
genocide of 1915 and condemns this act as a crime against humanity,’ was
moved by MP Madeleine Dalphond-Guiral (Laval Centre, BQ) and was seconded by
MPs Sarkis Assadourian (Brampton Centre, Liberal), Jason Kenney (Calgary
Southeast, Conservative Party of Canada) and Alexa McDonough (Halifax, New
Democratic Party). Voting, which began at 6: 15 pm, lasted 30 minutes.

Although Minister of Foreign Affairs Bill Graham used every means available
to him to defeat the Motion, he was unable to change the historic outcome.

The second reading of M-380, to recognize the Armenian Genocide, took place
on April 20. During the one-hour debate, only one member of the House spoke
against the motion. The other seven speakers were favoured of the motion.

In the last two days, the Turkish Embassy and its public relations firms had
launched a concerted campaign against the adoption of the bill. A delegation
from the Armenian National Committee of Canada (ANCC) was on hand to counter
the Turkish Embassy’s campaign of falsification and distortion of the
historical facts.

Dr. Girair Basmadjian, president of ANCC, was elated by the result of the
vote. `As an Armenian, I was moved and felt grateful for the respect that
was shown by the Canadian Parliament to the memory of the victims of the
Armenian Genocide. As a Canadian, I am proud that the House of Commons
adopted this historic motion.’

The ANCC was actively involved in promoting the passing of the motion. For
the last six months, the ANCC worked very closely with parliamentarians and
foreign affairs critics of all the political parties represented in the
House. The ANCC received strong support from numerous parliamentarians,
including Jim Karaygainnis, Eleni Bakopanos, Stephane Dion, Derek Lee,
Stephane Bergeron, Jason Kenney, Svend Robinson, Real Menard, and Senators
Raymond Setlakwe and Shirley Maheu. Ms. Libby Davies’ (Vancouver East)
gesture to switch her motion with madam Dalphond-Guiral motion, to allow the
vote to take place before the 89th anniversary commemorations of the
Armenian Genocide on April 24, was greatly appreciated. Within the Liberal
caucus, the contribution of Mr. Sarkis Assadourian (Brampton Centre) also
should be noted.

The ANCC mailed a specially-prepared brief to all members of the House. The
ANCC also mobilized the Canadian-Armenian community to counter the Turkish
Government’s propaganda campaign through e-mails, postcards and telephone
calls to parliamentarians.

###

Contacts: Aris Babikian (416) 706-4934 Mobile

Roupen Kouyoumdjian
(514) 336-7095

Canadian Parliament recognizes Armenian genocide

Canadian Parliament recognizes Armenian genocide

By David Ljunggren

OTTAWA, April 21 (Reuters) – The Canadian Parliament on Wednesday
ignored long-standing government policy and angered Turkey by formally
declaring that Ottoman Turks committed genocide against Armenians in
1915.

The House of Commons voted 153-68 to support a motion declaring the
events of 90 years ago as genocide, despite a plea from Foreign
Minister Bill Graham not to aggravate NATO ally Turkey.

Armenians say some 1.5 million of their people were deliberately
slaughtered by Ottoman Turks between 1915 and 1923. Turkey denies the
charges of genocide, saying the Armenians were among the many victims
of a partisan war raging during World War One as the Ottoman Empire
collapsed.

Graham quickly issued a statement after the vote stressing the motion
would not alter Ottawa’s official policy, which is that while the
events of 1915 were a tragedy, they did not constitute genocide.

Our “position on this issue … has not changed. Canada has had
friendly and cooperative relations with Turkey and Armenia for many
years. The Canadian government is committed to make these
relationships even stronger in the future,” he said.

But the result looked certain to harm ties with Turkey and represented
a sound defeat for the government, which had instructed Cabinet
members to vote “no.”

Before the vote, Graham sent a letter to Liberal lawmakers saying he
was “deeply concerned that it (the motion) could have far-reaching
negative consequences” for Turkey and the region.

“We must recognize we must have good relations with our NATO colleague
in Turkey … (which) is a very important NATO ally that we work with
closely in many areas, including Afghanistan,” he told reporters.

Despite his efforts, no less than 75 Liberal legislators voted for the
resolution. In recent years, parliaments in more than a dozen
countries — including France, Russia and Switzerland — have adopted
similar motions.

Ankara has fought hard to block attempts to press for international
recognition of the events as a genocide.

“Certainly, relations with Canada will suffer as the result of
adopting such a motion,” Turkish Embassy counselor Fazli Corman told
Reuters, citing the example of Canadian companies seeking to sign
contracts in Turkey.

France’s parliament backed the Armenian case in 2001, prompting Turkey
to freeze official visits to France and temporarily block French
companies from entering lucrative defense contracts.

The U.S. Congress dropped a similar resolution in 2000 after the White
House warned it would harm U.S. security interests in the Middle East.

(Additional reporting by Randall Palmer in Ottawa)

04/21/04 20:54 ET

New Armenian protest demands president step down

New Armenian protest demands president step down

By Hasmik Lazarian

YEREVAN, Armenia (Reuters) – More than 10,000 demonstrators marched
Wednesday to demand the resignation of Armenian President Robert
Kocharyan, whom they accuse of rigging his re-election last year, and
to seek a national referendum on his administration.

Ignoring both heavy rain and a threat by authorities to disperse mass
gatherings, protesters poured into Freedom Square in central Yerevan
and then filed through the city center without incident. They avoided
a repeat of last week’s protest when police used water cannon to break
up a march on Kocharyan’s residence.

“Any administration relying on violence is doomed. Kocharyan must go,”
said Stepan Demirchyan, leader of the Justice Party and runner-up to
Kocharyan in last year’s presidential election.

Kocharyan dismisses any notion of a new opposition-led “rose
revolution” like that which forced the resignation last year of
veteran leader Eduard Shevardnadze in ex-Soviet Georgia to the north.

The president says Armenia, unlike Georgia, has a more solid economy
with authorities enjoying broader support.

Speakers at Wednesday’s rally also demanded punishment for those
responsible for dispersing a rally on April 13 in which about 30
people were hurt. Opposition leaders are also calling for the release
of activists they say were detained.

Kocharyan ran Nagorno-Karabakh, a territory populated by ethnic
Armenians which broke away from rule by mainly Muslim Azerbaijan in
the Soviet era.

He became Armenian president in 1998, but has made little progress in
tackling the conflict over the region. Some 35,000 people were killed
died in six years of fighting ended by a 1994 cease-fire.

Kocharyan’s allies have offered dialogue with opposition parties. But
Viktor Dalakyan, another Justice Party leader, said dialogue could
only focus on the terms of Kocharyan’s departure.

“In the hearts of the people, the authorities are no longer in power,”
he said. “All therefore that remains to be done is to give this a
political form.”

The largest rally in the campaign so far attracted 20,000
marchers. Activists have called a new protest for Saturday to coincide
with commemorations of what Armenians describe as the genocide of 1.5
million of their countrymen by Ottoman Turks in 1915.

04/21/04 16:50 ET

From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress

MPs recognize Armenian massacre as genocide

MPs recognize Armenian massacre as genocide

Canadian Press

Updated: Wed. Apr. 21 2004 8:50 PM ET

OTTAWA – Canada became one of few countries to formally recognize the
genocide of Armenian Turks during the First World War in a strongly
worded motion adopted 153-68 in the House of Commons on Wednesday.

Government members were discouraged from voting for the motion, which
is sure to anger a Turkish government that has never recognized the
massacre of 1.5 million Armenians starting in 1915.

Following a charged debate at their weekly closed-door caucus meeting,
Liberal backbenchers voted massively in favour while the party’s
cabinet contingent rejected the Bloc Quebecois motion.

Prime Minister Paul Martin was absent during the politically sensitive
vote but Foreign Affairs Minister Bill Graham defended the
government’s opposition.

The Turkish government has warned that recognizing the genocide could
have economic consequences and Graham said he wanted to maintain good
relations with Turkey.

“Turkey is an important NATO ally in a region where it is a Muslim
country with a moderate government,” he said.

“What we seek to do in our foreign policy is to encourage the forward
dimension, we’re forward-looking. We’d like our Armenian friends and
our Turkish friends to work together to put these issues in the past.”

The motion read: “That this House acknowledges the Armenian genocide
of 1915 and condemns this act as a crime against humanity.”

The Turkish government rejects the charge of genocide as unfounded and
says that while 600,000 Armenians died, 2.5 million Muslims perished
in a periodof civil unrest.

Unlike the Liberal government most opposition MPs _ including
Conservative Leader Stephen Harper _ voted in favour of the motion,
which places Canada in a category of only about two dozen countries to
have recognized the Armenian genocide.

The United Nations has also recognized the massacre, and Armenians
have been fighting for decades throughout the world for that sort of
acknowledgement.

One opposition critic labelled the prime minister “hypocritical” for
promising more free votes and then forcing ministers to toe the line
on such a matter of deep personal conscience.

“It’s a terrible double standard for Paul Martin to force his
ministers to vote against it and not even show up himself,” said Tory
foreign affairs critic Stockwell Day.

“That is a hypocritical double standard.”

Liberal Hedy Fry supported the motion but said it’s important to note
the atrocities were carried out under the Ottoman empire, which has
faded into history and was long ago replaced by a modern Turkish
state.

“I think we need to recognize the past,” she said.

“I think it doesn’t mean we’ve broken ties with the current regime in
Turkey.

They are our colleagues, they are our NATO allies. They are a
moderate, Muslim government and I think we need to work with them.

Recognizing what happened in the Ottoman empire shouldn’t affect
Canada’s diplomatic relations with Turkey, she said.

Fry and many other former Liberal cabinet ministers who are now
backbenchers also voted in favour, including Martin Cauchon, Stephane
Dion, Maurizio Bevilacqua, Lyle Vanclief, Lawrence MacAulay, Herb
Dhaliwal and David Kilgour.

© Copyright 2004 Bell Globemedia Inc.

Once Upon a Genocide

ONCE UPON A GENOCIDE
Los Angeles City Beat
by Natalie Nichols
A whole race genocide,
taken away all of our pride,
a whole race genocide
taken away, watch them all fall down.
-System of a Down, `P.L.U.C.K.’

`P.L.U.C.K.’ stands for `Politically Lying, Unholy,Cowardly Killers’ –
which neatly sums up System of a Down’s feelings regarding the Ottoman
Empire’s massacre of 1.5 million Armenians in 1915, and modern
Turkey’s refusal to admit to what scholars widely consider one of the
20th century’s first genocides.

The distant past still echoes loudly for the superstar L.A. rock
quartet, as singer Serj Tankian, guitarist Daron Malakian, bassist
Shavo Odadjian, and drummer John Dolmayan all have Armenian heritage.

The song, from System’s 1998 debut album, is not a history lesson. Its
minimal lyrics and grinding music instead telegraph complex, visceral,
and wide-ranging emotions: vengeful, anguished, defiant. Part of the
anger stems from frustration – not just because these killings
happened, scattering Armenians all over the globe, but also because
Turkey resists calling them `genocide,’ maintaining that it wasn’t an
organized campaign and that the Empire was defending itself from
Armenians’ alliance with its then-enemy, Russia. This denial has kept
the United States from officially recognizing the Armenian massacre,
for what Tankian terms `geopolitical reasons.’ That is, whenever a
resolution to acknowledge the genocide comes up in Congress, Turkey
objects strenuously by, say, threatening to withhold U.S. access to
military bases within its borders.

`Geopolitics is no longer an excuse,’ says Tankian, sittingwith
Odadjian on a funky, rug-upholstered couch in a woody NoHo rehearsal
studio, where they’ re working out songs for their first album of new
material since 200’s Toxicity. (They hope to release it by
year’s end.) `Something similar would be, let’ s say we want Germany’s
help in the Iraq war, and Germany says, `OK, we’ll help
you. However, first you gotta go destroy all the Holocaust
museums.’ That would be absurd.’ The Armenian genocide is an old
injustice in a world busy making new ones every day, but the band
members feel that one way to prevent new massacres is to remember
those that time or circumstance would have us forget. To that end,
this Saturday at the Greek Theatre, they’ll headline the
sold-out`Souls 2004,’ a benefit concert to raise awareness of what
happened to the Armenians. The date – April 24 – is significant as the
annual commemoration of the genocide worldwide, marking the day in
1915 when more than 200 Armenian leaders in Constantinople (now
Istanbul) were arrested, setting mass murder in motion.The show also
aims to support passage of House Resolution 193 and Senate Resolution
164, affirming U.S. commitment to the international Genocide
Convention, recognizing planned carnage in Ottoman Turkey, Nazi
Germany, Rwanda, Cambodia, and other regions. (Proceeds will go to
various groups focused on genocides, including the Armenian National
Committee of America.) `No matter when it [occurred], if it’s an
injustice, it needs to be addressed,’ Tankian says. A postcard
campaign on System’s website urges visitors to contact their
representatives about these resolutions. `We’ve been in touch with
over half a million of our fans, and we’ve got 75, 80 thousandpeople
who have actually sent postcards to the Speaker of the House and the
Senate Majority Leader,’ he says. `It’s like a whole grassroots
activism tied into the Souls show.’ Most fans may be more motivated
to see SOAD in a relatively intimate venue.

This is the second time the band has staged this type of benefit; the
firstwas before it recorded Toxicity. `We played some of those tunes
with [different] titles and lyrics,’ Dolmayan recalls of that show,
which took placeat the Palace (now Avalon). Similarly, this time,
Malakian says, `We mightplay a couple new songs, but you might hear
some changes by the time we record them.’ And that possibility
should spark as much excitement in System’s fans as the massacre
sparks outrage in their heroes.

As genocides go, this one wasn’t the biggest. Or the worst. Probably
it’s not even the most overlooked. But to these guys, it’s
personal. `The point of it was so I wouldn’t exist right now,’
says Malakian, jabbing a thumb toward himself as he and Dolmayan take
their turn on the couch.

All four had ancestors perish and/or survive, and their own potential
futures altered. Thus, the genocide even shaped System itself. The
knowledge had a powerful formative impact on Tankian, the group’s
charismatic mouthpiece. To him, the massacre is emblematic of all
truths left unsaid.

`It’s one of the things that made me think, `Look, this is a
truth that’s there, that is being denied, even in a democratic country
like America,’ he says, widening his dark brown eyes. `How many
other truths are being denied for geopolitical reasons, for profit
reasons?’ Although SOAD has a big Armenian following here – Glendale
is home to the world’s second-largest Armenian community – most fans,
obviously, are not Armenian. Indeed, its tunes deal far more with
universal subjects its young followers can relate to: love, sex,
alienation, drug abuse, suicide, even other political flashpoints,
such as LAPD crackdowns during the 2000 Democratic National
Convention, criticized in Toxicity’s `Deer Dance.’ So why tap the
activist potential of its audience for this relatively obscure cause?
Well, why not? Rock has a grand tradition of activism (and promoting
pet causes), and System’s personal connection lets the genocide’s
broader implications resonate with listeners. As Odadjian points out,
`The world is getting more political.’ The issues surrounding this
long-ago massacre hold lessons for today, which such current
nightmares as Sudan vividly prove. Plus, at a time when Turkey’s
moderate leadership aspires to join the European Union (which has
concerns about the nation’s human-rights track record), some (mostly
expatriate) Turkish scholars are calling for a soul-cleansing look at
what the Ottoman Empire really did. Thanks to the easing of
free-speech restrictions, it’s now easier for Turks to bring the
matter into public discourse.

Even if the time were not so ripe for reassessing this unrepented
atrocity, the band would still feel duty-bound to, as Dolmayan puts
it, `contribute back to our people.’ The absence of grandparents,
great aunts and uncles, distant cousins, and their potential
descendants is palpable, a history these third-generation survivors
can almost touch. Like the Holocaust or the slaughters in
Bosnia-Herzegovina, the Armenian genocide is still a force at work on
its target. Indeed, in one simple exchange, Dolmayan and Malakian
demonstrate the strange mixture of painful knowledge, bitter humor,
and resigned fatalism that this writhing worm of collective memory has
created.

Dolmayan: Actually, I wouldn’t be here if my grandmother’s first
husband had not been killed. She remarried my grandfather, who [begat]
my father – and here I am.

Malakian: So¦ so, the genocide helped you.

Dolmayan: In a way.

Malakian laughs, a parched, sardonic cackle.

Dolmayan: No, but, I mean, that’s the reality. I wouldn’t exist, but I
would gladly give up my existence to have that not have happened. Who
knows, maybe I would’ve been born some other way.

Genocide may be a phantom threat now, but the shock still
ricochets. `They tried to wipe out our whole culture so we
wouldn’t even be here,’ Malakian says. `And in some ways they
have, because a lot of Armenian kids lost touch with tradition and
heritage and language and alphabet.’ He sobers. `But the one
thing they didn’t erase was our will and our character. I mean,
there’s something about Armenian people; we’re very fiery.’ He laughs
again, an acidic guffaw. `You can’t bring us down that easy, I
guess.’

Visit Our Sponsors
© 2003 Southland Publishing, All Rights Reserved

ANCC: Canada Recognizes the Armenian Genocide

Armenian National Committee of Canada
3401 Olivar-Asselin
Montreal, Quebec
H4J 1L5

April 21st, 2004

Contact persons :
Robert Kouyoumdjian: (514) 336-7095
Shant Karabajak: (514) 334-1299
Aris Babikian : (416) 497-8972

PRESS RELEASE

Canada Recognizes the Armenian Genocide
The House of Commons adopts bill M-380 presented by Mrs. Madeleine
Dalhpond-Guiral

OTTAWA, April 21st, 2004 – On the eve of the 89th anniversary of the
Armenian Genocide, the Canadian House of Commons, with overwhelming
majority, recognized the Armenian Genocide. The non-partisan vote was
153 for 68 against. When the result of the vote was announced, the House
of Commons chamber, which was packed with Armenians from Montreal,
Ottawa, Toronto and other Canadian cities, burst in applause and ringing
“bravo.” Tears of joy could be seen in the eyes of many Armenians.

Motion M-380, which reads: “That this House acknowledges the Armenian
genocide of 1915 and condemns this act as a crime against humanity,” was
moved by MP Madeleine Dalphond-Guiral (Laval Centre, Bloc Quebecois) and
was seconded by MPs Sarkis Assadourian (Brampton Centre, Liberal), Jason
Kenney (Calgary Southeast, Conservative Party of Canada) and Alexa
McDonough (Halifax, New Democratic Party). Voting, which began at 6:15
pm, lasted 30 minutes.

The governing Liberal leadership paved the way for this vote by allowing
a “free vote,” meaning that individual members are allowed to vote their
conscience, without any pressure or negative repercussions from their
respective party leaderships. Although Minister of Foreign Affairs Bill
Graham used every means available to him to defeat the Motion, he was
unable to change the historic outcome.

On February 21st, the Parliament held its first reading of Bill M-380,
which included an hour of debate on the measure. Among those speaking
in favor of the Resolution during the first reading were Derek Lee
(Liberal), Eleni Bakopnaos (Liberal), Francine Lalonde (BQ), Stockwell
Day (PC) and the Hon, Lorne Nystrom (NDP).

The second reading of M-380, to recognize the Armenian Genocide, took
place on April 20. During the one-hour debate, only one member of the
House spoke against the motion. The other seven speakers were favoured
of the motion.

In the last two days, the Turkish Embassy and its public relations firms
had launched a concerted campaign against the adoption of the bill. A
delegation from the Armenian National Committee of Canada (ANCC) was on
hand to counter the Turkish Embassy’s campaign of falsification and
distortion of the historical facts. An ANCC team has been in the
nation’s capital for the past several weeks representing the community’s
views on this matter.

The passing of this resolution was the culmination of a 25 year process
which encompassed similar resolutions being passed by city councils,
provinces, and the Canadian Senate (July 13, 2002).

Dr. Girair Basmadjian, president of the Armenian National Committee of
Canada (ANCC), was elated by the result of the vote. “As an Armenian, I
was moved and felt grateful for the respect that was shown by the
Canadian Parliament to the memory of the victims of the Armenian
Genocide. As a Canadian, I am proud that the House of Commons adopted
this historic motion.”

“This is a victory for truth and justice.” stated Dr. Basmadjian.

“Implicated in this course of action for over two decades, the ANCC has
constituted the driving force behind the process towards the adoption of
this motion,” commented Dr. G. Basmadjian. “The accomplishment of this
task was made possible through the mobilization as well as the
implication of our grass roots members who made sure that all Members of
Parliament were aware of the importance of this issue for our
community.”

The ANCC was actively involved in promoting the passing of the motion.
For the last six months, the ANCC worked very closely with
parliamentarians and foreign affairs critics of all the political
parties represented in the House. The ANCC received strong support from
numerous parliamentarians, including Jim Karaygainnis, Eleni Bakopanos,
Stephane Dion, Derek Lee, Stephane Bergeron, Jason Kenney, Svend
Robinson, Real Menard, and Senators Raymond Setlakwe and Shirley Maheu.
Ms. Libby Davies’ (Vancouver East) gesture to switch her motion with
madam Dalphond-Guiral motion, to allow the vote to take place before the
89th anniversary commemorations of the Armenian Genocide on April 24,
was greatly appreciated. Within the Liberal caucus, the contribution of
Mr. Sarkis Assadourian (Brampton Centre) also should be noted.

The ANCC mailed a specially-prepared brief to all members of the House.
The ANCC also mobilized the Canadian-Armenian community to counter the
Turkish Government’s propaganda campaign through e-mails, postcards and
telephone calls to parliamentarians.

A NATO ally, Canada now joins a long list of nations including France,
Italy, Greece, Switzerland and Russia which have recognized the Armenian
Genocide of 1915-1923.

From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress

An Armenian answer to Azerbaijan

An Armenian answer to Azerbaijan

>From the Greek Daily Elevtherotypia
21 April 2004

By Thanasis Avgerinos ([email protected])

MOSCOW — “If Azerbaijan recognizes northern Cyprus, then this could set a
very interesting precedent, why not, for the case of Nagorno-Karabagh”,
stated Vardan Oskanian, the Foreign Minister of Armenia, while commenting on
a recent position taken by the Azeri President Ilham Aliyev during an
official visit to Ankara.

“It is very strange” stated Oskanian “to hear from the lips of Ilham
Aliyiev, who vehemently denies the right of self-determination for the
people of Nagorno Karabagh, claims about the possibility of recognition of
the independence of the Turkish part of Cyprus”, thus pulling the rug under
the feet of the leadership in Baku and the presidential diplomatic friendly
gestures towards Turkey.

The daily newspaper “Zerkala” in Baku characterized the Aliyev statement “a
failure of Azeri diplomacy from which the international status of the
country will be hurt, because he continues the policy of deterioration of
Azerbaijan’s relations with its neighbors, Iran, Russia, Turkmenistan and
now Greece” and interprets the statement as an effort to break the rapid
improvement of Turco-Armenian relations under the blessings of the West.

;id=99577172

From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress

http://www.enet.gr/online/online_p1_text.jsp?c=110&amp

Canada: Liberal backbenchers break ranks over genocide motion

BREAKING NEWS

POSTED AT 9:57 PM EDT Wednesday, Apr. 21, 2004

Liberal backbenchers break ranks over genocide motion

By ALEXANDER PANETTA

Canadian Press

Ottawa – Canada became one of few countries to formally recognize the
genocide of Armenian Turks during the First World War in a strongly
worded motion adopted 153-68 in the House of Commons on Wednesday.

Government members were discouraged from voting for the motion, which is
sure to anger a Turkish government that has never recognized the
massacre of 1.5 million Armenians starting in 1915.

Following a charged debate at their weekly closed-door caucus meeting,
Liberal backbenchers voted massively in favour while the party’s cabinet
contingent rejected the Bloc Québécois motion.

Prime Minister Paul Martin was absent during the politically sensitive
vote but Foreign Affairs Minister Bill Graham defended the government’s
opposition.

The Turkish government has warned that recognizing the genocide could
have economic consequences and Mr. Graham said he wanted to maintain
good relations with Turkey.

`Turkey is an important NATO ally in a region where it is a Muslim
country with a moderate government,’ he said.

`What we seek to do in our foreign policy is to encourage the forward
dimension, we’re forward-looking. We’d like our Armenian friends and our
Turkish friends to work together to put these issues in the past.’

The motion read: `That this House acknowledges the Armenian genocide of
1915 and condemns this act as a crime against humanity.’

The Turkish government rejects the charge of genocide as unfounded and
says that while 600,000 Armenians died, 2.5 million Muslims perished in
a period of civil unrest.

Unlike the Liberal government most opposition MPs – including
Conservative Leader Stephen Harper – voted in favour of the motion,
which places Canada in a category of only about two dozen countries to
have recognized the Armenian genocide.

The United Nations has also recognized the massacre, and Armenians have
been fighting for decades throughout the world for that sort of
acknowledgment.

One opposition critic labelled the Prime Minister `hypocritical’ for
promising more free votes and then forcing ministers to toe the line on
such a matter of deep personal conscience.

`It’s a terrible double standard for Paul Martin to force his ministers
to vote against it and not even show up himself,’ said Tory foreign
affairs critic Stockwell Day.

`That is a hypocritical double standard.’

Liberal Hedy Fry supported the motion but said it’s important to note
the atrocities were carried out under the Ottoman empire, which has
faded into history and was long ago replaced by a modern Turkish state.

`I think we need to recognize the past,’ she said.

`I think it doesn’t mean we’ve broken ties with the current regime in
Turkey. They are our colleagues, they are our NATO allies. They are a
moderate, Muslim government and I think we need to work with them.

Recognizing what happened in the Ottoman empire shouldn’t affect
Canada’s diplomatic relations with Turkey, she said.

Fry and many other former Liberal cabinet ministers who are now
backbenchers also voted in favour, including Martin Cauchon, Stephane
Dion, Maurizio Bevilacqua, Lyle Vanclief, Lawrence MacAulay, Herb
Dhaliwal and David Kilgour.

From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress

Canada House of Commons recognizes “genocide” in Armenia, rebuffs FM

Canada – AFP

Canada House of Commons recognizes “genocide” in Armenia, rebuffing FM

Wed Apr 21, 8:24 PM ET

OTTAWA (AFP) – Canada’s House of Commons rejected appeals from Foreign
Minister Bill Graham by adopting a resolution to recognize that Turkey,
Canada’s ally in NATO, committed genocide in Armenia in 1915.

The 301-seat House of Commons voted 153 to 68 in favour of the
resolution, thanks to support from many members of the governing Liberal
Party. Several MPs said Graham had asked them to vote down the measure
during closed-door Liberal meetings.

The motion recognized Turkey’s alleged genocide as “a crime against
humanity.”

It has symbolic value and will not define policy.

In the vote, several leading members of the Liberal Party, including
parliamentary secretaries, voted in favour. However, no full cabinet
minister voted against.

Aris Babikian, of the Armenian National Committee of Canada, pointed out
that several key cabinet ministers, including Justice Minister Irwin
Cotler and even Prime Minister Paul Martin, were absent for the vote.

He suggested they were absent because they did not want to vote against
the motion.

However, Babikian said it was a great “moral victory,” which would add
pressure on Turkey to at least recognize the genocide and even apologize
for it.

At a celebration party after Tuesday’s vote, Babikian said he owed this
victory to his grandfather who “lost six brothers and sisters in the
genocide” and “saw his own six-year-old sister burned to death.