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-- President of National Assembly uses Delaying Tactics to Defer Vote
-- French Government Cites Economic Interests in Turkey
PARIS, FRANCE - The draft law establishing legal penalties for the denial of the Armenian Genocide, set for a vote today of the National Assembly,

was blocked by Jean-Louis Debré, the National Assembly’s president, who, under pressure from the French Government, deferred a vote on the measure
for an undetermined period.

The anti-denial measure was introduced by the Socialist Group as part of its “Parliamentary Window.” Despite the fact that it was listed as only

the second item on the Parliamentary agenda, President Debré effectively blocked its consideration by artificially extending the first agenda item
by adding speakers, extending time limits, and other dilatory tactics.

These delaying tactics were confronted by the Socialist, Communist and Centrist groups. These protests, notably that of the President of the Socialist group, Jean-Marc Ayrault, led to Mr. Debré finally consenting to examine the anti-denial measure during the remaining thirty minutes left in the session. Mr. Debre again delayed holding a vote and, with time having expired, he postponed the vote to an undefined future session.

Sensing the strong consensus behind the measure – and fearful of being isolated within the French political establishment, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Douste-Blazy, spoke against the resolution on the basis of France’s economic interest in Turkey. Almost all the other speakers argued in favor of sanctioning Armenian Genocide denial. Sources within Parliament reported that a broad majority of members, including those in the conservative majority, were prepared to vote for the resolution.

“We thank the deputies who, by their commitment to the struggle for justice
and dignity, preserved the honour and prestige of France as a nation committed to these high ideals. We are however scandalized by the shameful schemes employed by the French government to hamper the free expression of members of the National Assembly on this core issue of concern to the conscience of all people,” said Hilda Tchoboian, President of the European Armenian Federation.

“Both the government and the media should keep in mind the lesson of the

referendum on the European Constitution – namely that in a leading democratic nation, such as France, the will of the people cannot be ignored, deterred, or obstructed by the government. Sooner or later, the imposition of penalties for Armenian Genocide denial will be adopted because, in their wisdom, the French people and their elected representatives understand that the true basis for peace and progress are justice and the dignity,” concluded Tchoboian.

for Justice and Democracy
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For immediate release
May 19, 2006
Contact: Vartenie ECHO
Tel: +322 732 70 26


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