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11 10 2007 - House panel OKs Armenian genocide =esolution;_ylt=Am07Zwa1Tj0i2cUc_A=BnhhvaA8F

By Tabassum Zakaria and Susan =ornwell10 minutes ago
A U.S. House committee approved on Wednesday a =esolution calling the 1915 massacres of Armenians genocide, brushing aside White =ouse warnings that it would do "great harm" to ties with NATO ally =st1:country-region w:st="on">Turkey, a key supporter in the =st1:country-region w:st="on">Iraq =ar.

The House of Representatives Foreign Affairs =ommittee approved the resolution 27-21. It now goes to the House floor, where =emocratic leaders say there will be a vote by mid-November. There is a companion =ill in the Senate, but both measures are strictly symbolic, and do not require =he president's signature.

Turkey calls the resolution an insult and rejects the Armenian position, backed by many =estern historians, that up to 1.5 million Armenians suffered genocide at the =ands of Ottoman Turks during World War One.

Turkey has warned of damage to bilateral ties if Congress passes the measure, and =resident George W. Bush made the same point before the vote =ednesday.

"This resolution is not the right response to =hese historic mass killings, and its passage would do great harm to our =elations with a key ally in NATO and in the global war on terror," Bush said at =he White House.

The bulk of supplies for troops in =st1:country-region w:st="on">Iraq pass through Turkey's Incirlik airbase, and Turkey provides thousands of truck drivers and other workers for =st1:country-region w:st="on">U.S. operations in Iraq. Supplies also flow =rom that base to troops in Afghanistan.

The committee vote followed hours of sometimes =motional debate over whether, as the committee's chairman Rep. Tom Lantos said, lawmakers should "condemn this historic nightmare through the use =f the word genocide," or put military cooperation with an upset =st1:country-region w:st="on">Turkey at risk. Lantos, a California Democrat, voted for the =esolution.

"We are disappointed at this point, but this =rocess is going on," Turkey's ambassador to the United States, Nabi Sensoy, told reporters =fter the vote. "We will have to wait and see what the results are." =e did not want to "prejudge" the reaction of the Turkish government =r parliament.

The White House was also "very =isappointed" in the vote, spokesman Gordon Johndroe said, adding that the president is =till asking that the House as a whole reject the resolution if and when it =omes to the floor.

But a group of Armenian Americans -- the Armenian =ssembly of America -- commended the move. "It is long past time for the =st1:country-region w:st="on">U.S. =overnment to acknowledge and affirm this horrible chapter of history - the first =enocide of the 20th century and a part of history that we must never =orget," director Bryan Ardouny said in a statement.
(Additional reporting by Caren Bohan, Matt =petalnick)

Annette Melikian

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