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Armenia files protest over British refusal to recognize 'genocide'

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  • 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