Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Vatican: "Unspeakable" Armenian Suffering

ANSA English Media Service

November 24, 2008 Monday 1:09 PM CET

(ANSA) - Vatican City, November 24 - Pope Benedict XVI on Monday spoke
of the "unspeakable suffering" of the Armenian people but did not
use the word "genocide", a term rejected by Turkey but widely used by
historians. Meeting with the religious head of the Armenian diaspora
in Lebanon, Aram I, the pope said the Armenians had experienced a
"period of unspeakable suffering" during the last century. In Aram's
previous visit to Rome in 1997, Pope John Paul II spoke openly of the
Armenian "genocide". On Monday Aram urged all states to recognise
"all genocides, including that of the Armenians". The use of the
word is strongly contested by Turkey and is one of the stumbling
blocks to Turkey's bid to join the European Union. France passed a
bill two years ago making it an offence to deny that Armenia suffered
"genocide" at the hands of the Turks, but the bill was subsequently
buried in the French Senate after furious Turkish reactions. Armenia
says Ottoman Turks killed 1.5 million people systematically in 1915 -
a claim strongly denied by Turkey.

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