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US House panel approves resolution on Armenian genocide

[JURIST] The US House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee Wednesday approved [chairman statement] a resolution labeling the World War I-era killings of over one million Armenians by Turkish soldiers [ANI backgrounder; Turkish DC Embassy backgrounder] as genocide. The resolution now goes to the House floor, where a vote is expected in mid-November. US President George W. Bush expressed disappointment [press briefing] over the committee decision, worrying that it might damage US relations with Turkey, a key supporter in the war on terror. Bush urged the House to reject the bill when it comes to a vote.

Turkey has long objected [JURIST comment] to any attempts to classify the 1915 killings as a genocide. On Sunday, Turkish head of Parliament Koksal Toptan warned [JURIST report] US Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi that passage of the resolution [H Res 106 materials; PDF text] could hurt US-Turkish diplomatic relations. Bush and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan [BBC profile] spoke by phone Friday about their concerns over the resolution [JURIST report], and interest groups on both sides of the debate have been ratcheting up lobbying efforts [AP report] in anticipation of the House vote. Reuters has more.

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