5 Mar 2010

US committee votes on Armenian 'genocide'

11:24 am on 5 March 2010

A Congressional committee in the United States has described the killing of Armenians by Turkish forces during World War I as genocide.

Despite White House objections, the resolution was approved by the House Foreign Affairs Committee by 23 votes to 22.

The administration earlier warned the committee that the vote would harm reconciliation talks between Turkey and Armenia.

It is unclear whether the non-binding resolution will now go forward to the full House.

Turkey responded by recalling its ambassador in Washington for consultations. It has fiercely opposed the non-binding resolution.

Prime Minister Recep Tayip Erdogan condemned the resolution.

In 2007, a similar resolution passed the committee stage, but was shelved before a House vote after pressure from the Bush administration.

During his election campaign, President Barack Obama promised to brand the mass killings genocide.

However, committee chairman Howard Berman urged committee members on Thursday to endorse the resolution despite the White House warnings.

He said Ankara had to come to terms with its history:

The BBC reports Turkey and Armenia signed an accord In October last year, normalising relations between them after a century of hostility.

Armenia wants Turkey to recognise the killings as an act of genocide, but successive Turkish governments have refused to do so.