Yerevan hails, Baku condemns French law

Yerevan hails, Baku condemns French law

Armenia’s president thanked his French counterpart yesterday after France’s Senate approved a bill making it a crime to deny that the mass killings of Armenians during World War I were genocide.

 “France has reaffirmed its greatness and power, its devotion to universal human values,” Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian said in a letter to French leader Nicolas Sarkozy. “This day is exceptional for all those who are struggling for the protection of human rights, for the condemnation and prevention of crimes against humanity,” Sarkisian wrote. He said it was “a historic day for Armenians all over the world.”

Armenian Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian said the law will “be written in gold” in the history of friendship between the Armenian and French peoples. On the other hand, Turkey’s ally Azerbaijan yesterday denounced as anti-democratic the French Senate’s approval of the law. “

Azerbaijan protests law

The Republic of Azerbaijan deplores […] and expresses its strong protest over this law,” the Foreign Ministry in Baku said in a statement. However, Azerbaijan did not demand removal of France from the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Minsk Group, as expected by daily Hürriyet yesterday.

The Armenian diaspora also praised the decision of the Senate yesterday. The Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) Executive Director Aram Hamparian praised France’s courage, urging U.S. President Barack Obama to also honor his pledge to recognize the Armenians killings as genocide, Armenian Now website reported. “Once again it was proved that Turkey is not ready to face its history,” said Giro Manoyan, director of the International Secretariat of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (AFR) Bureau in Yerevan. 

Several hundred young political activists and students gathered outside the French Embassy in Yerevan to express their gratitude, bringing flowers and candles and waving French and Armenian flags. Some carried placards with slogans “France is a guarantor of historical justice.” 
Additional AFP and AP stories were included in this story.