France calls on Ankara for calm
PARIS - Agence France-PresseFrench senators passed the bill outlawing the denial of Armenian genocide allegations. An angry Turkey slammed the move and warned of severe consequences.
The French Senate approved – 127 votes for, 86 against and 24 abstaining – the measure that threatens to jail and fine anyone in France who denies the 1915 Armenian killings amounted to genocide. French President Nicolas Sarkozy, whose right-wing Union for a Popular Movement (UMP) party put forward the motion, must now sign the bill for it to become law.
Officials in Sarkozy’s conservative government appealed to Turkey’s government to keep its calm. “I think this initiative was a bit inopportune. But the Parliament has decided. What I’d like to do today is call on our Turkish friends to keep their composure,” Foreign Minister Alain Juppe said on Canal Plus TV. “After this wave – which I must say has been a little bit excessive – I’m convinced that we will return to constructive relations. I extend my hand; I hope it will be taken one day.”