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      Abrahamian protest English Ambassador

Abrahamian protest English Ambassador   22/03/2004

WORLD ARMENIAN CONGRESS CONDEMNS BRITISH AMBASSADOR'S DECLARATION

The World Armenian Congress strongly condemns the British Ambassador to Armenia, Thorda Abbott-Watt, for making a statement on the Armenian Genocide that insults the entire Armenian nation. By refusing to give an international-juridical assessment to the premeditated mass killing of 1.5 million Armenians living in Turkey at the beginning of the 20-th century, the British Ambassador found it expedient to describe these killings simply as a "brutality." Her assessment was based on the excuse that, in her opinion, "recognizing these events as genocide" would not be "of much use."

The Ambassador's statement is a radical departure from the position that Great Britain had taken in the immediate aftermath of the Armenian genocide. The government of Great Britain was among the first to give a clear political and international-juridical characterization to the deliberate extermination of the Armenian population by the Turkish government. The British government had characterized the Turkish actions as "crimes against humanity and civilization".

Along with Lloyd George, Lord Curzon, Winston Churchill and other dignitaries, British officials described these crimes as the murder of an entire nation for which the Turkish government should bear full political and international-juridical responsibility. The facts of the Armenian Genocide and the political responsibility of the Turkish State were already recognized by the international community back when the crime was being committed.

The position of the British envoy in Armenia is not only an insult to the historical memory of the entire Armenian nation, but may and should be viewed as complicity in genocide, according to the UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (adopted by the General Assembly on December 9, 1948).

The opinion of the Ambassador that the recognition of the genocide would not promote Turkish-Armenian relations is not only false, but also politically harmful. Such a stance is in fact an incitement to commit new genocides.

It is hard to suppose that the British Ambassador would dare make a similar declaration regarding the Jewish Holocaust. Apparently, the British government finds that such offensive declarations are tolerated in Armenia, and that the Armenian authorities would not dare to protect their legal rights and interests.

Armenians all over the world find the behavior of the British diplomat intolerable. It deserves an appropriate moral, legal and political assessment.

We demand that the behavior of Ms. Abbott-Watt be qualified as conduct unbecoming of a diplomat. We demand that the Armenian government declare her a persona non grata and expel her promptly from Armenia. She cannot effectively represent the interests of her government in a country whose entire population she has managed to offend.

We hope that the government of Armenia would not yield to political terrorism and would act in a determined and principled manner. This is required by Armenia's right to self-determination and its national interests. At the same time, this fully corresponds with the requirements of international legal rights.

The World Armenian Congress believes that condemning the Armenian Genocide in line with international law would help prevent the reoccurrence of such crimes, and would foster the establishment of better relations between two neighboring nations and states.

Ara Abrahamian, President, World Armenian Congress, March 22, 2004, Moscow, Russia

 


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