FRENCH RECOGNITION OF ARMENIAN GENOCIDE MAJOR STEP TOWARD INTERNATIONAL AFFIRMATION
January 31, 2001
Washington, DC — A three-year long legislative process ended successfully January 30 in Paris when French President Jacques Chirac signed a bill recognizing the Armenian Genocide of 1915, an event which the Armenian National Institute (ANI) called “a major step toward international reaffirmation of history.”
The law states simply: “France publicly recognizes the Armenian Genocide of 1915.” The French Senate passed the Resolution on November 7, 2000. France’s Lower House, the National Assembly, approved it unanimously January 18, 2001.
France’s 300,000-strong Armenian community, one of the largest in Europe, worked vigorously for the bill. A united effort by French-Armenian organizations spearheaded the advocacy process in France over the last six years.
“France now joins Belgium, Greece, Italy, Sweden, the European Parliament and Pope John Paul II in reaffirming the Armenian Genocide. I greet today’s news with great satisfaction,” said Dr. Claire Mouradian, ANI Academic Council member and a researcher at France’s prestigious National Scientific Research Center.
“We have worked long and hard in France to achieve this end. This gives us hope that one day soon Turkey will end its denial campaign and also recognize the Armenian Genocide.”
“The French government’s action sends a powerful message which will inevitably lead to full international reaffirmation,” said ANI Chairman of the Board Robert A. Kaloosdian. “In the face of threatened economic reprisals, the French government stood for principle. We can only hope that one day the United States government will act accordingly.”
The government of Turkey, acting on earlier economic and diplomatic threats, has recalled its ambassador to France, is reported to have scrapped a $259 million satellite project and a major defense contract and banned a number of French imports, including medicine. France is among Turkey’s main economic partners, with bilateral trade estimated at $4.5 billion in 1999.
The Armenian National Institute is dedicated to the study, research, and affirmation of the Armenian Genocide. Visit its web site at www.armenian-genocide.org.