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Rice lobbies lawmakers against Armenian genocide resolution

[JURIST] US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice told members of the House Foreign Affairs Committee in testimony on US Middle East policy Wednesday that House members should discontinue an effort to pass a resolution condemning the World War-I era mass killings of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire as genocide [HR 106 materials]. The committee approved the resolution [JURIST report] earlier this month and it is waiting to be brought to House floor, but support for the measure among House members seems to be waning [JURIST report]. Rice urged Congress not to pass the resolution, bearing in mind shared US strategic interests with Turkey, a key ally of the United States in the war in Iraq. She said passage would "severely harm" US-Turkish relations. President Bush has similarly urged lawmakers not to endorse the measure.

Turkey has long objected [JURIST comment] to any attempts to classify the Armenian killings as genocide. Several other countries - including France, Canada and Argentina - have nonetheless passed laws or resolutions [BBC backgrounder] to that effect. AFP has more.

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