Bill prevents new crimes, Armenia says
RIGA - Agence France-PresseArmenia’s Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian yesterday applauded France for criminalizing denial of the Armenian genocide allegations, saying the vote would “prevent new crimes against humanity.”
“It is a very important mechanism to prevent new crimes against humanity,” Nalbandian told reporters during a visit to Latvia. “This is an important step by France which could be not only welcomed but supported by other states in Europe and elsewhere,” Nalbandian said. The French Senate Jan. 23 approved a bill threatening to jail anyone in France who denies that the World War I-era killings of Armenians amounted to genocide. Asked if he expected others to follow suit, Nalbandian said he hoped so. “The first thing we have to do is turn a page in our common history with Turkey, not through denial but through recognition of the Armenian genocide. We do hope very much that there will come a day when Turkey recognizes the Armenian genocide,” Nalbandian said. Meanwhile, French President Nicolas Sarkozy paid a visit to Marseille, known to be mostly populated by Armenians, and met with Marseille Mayor Jean-Claude Gaudin right after the approval of the bill in the French Senate, daily Hürriyet reported yesterday.