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Bill noting Armenian genocide isn’t policy, says US State Department

U.S. Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo and State Department spokesperson Morgan Ortagus listen to the Chair of the Commission on Unalienable Rights, Mary Ann Glendon, as she delivers remarks to the press at the U.S. Department of State in Washington D.C. on July 8, 2019. (State Department photo by Michael Gross)

This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.

The U.S. State Department said on December 17 that recent congressional action to recognize the Armenian genocide does not reflect the policy of U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration.

In a short statement, the department said the Trump administration’s position on the matter is unchanged.

The Senate voted unanimously last week to recognize the mass killings of more than 1 million Armenians by Ottoman Turks a century ago as a genocide. The House had previously adopted a similar bill in the face of stark protests from NATO ally Turkey.

“The position of the Administration has not changed,” department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said in a terse two-sentence statement. “Our views are reflected in the president’s definitive statement on this issue from last April.”

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On April 24, President Donald Trump commemorated Armenian Remembrance Day in a statement that honored “the memory of those who suffered in one of the worst mass atrocities of the 20th century.” In keeping with longstanding U.S. policy, the statement did not use the term “genocide.”

The Senate action follows a vote by a Senate committee to impose sanctions on Turkey after its offensive in Syria and purchase of the Russian S-400 missile system.

The actions were the latest by Congress to push Trump to take a harder line against Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.