International News

French Senate recognises 1915 Armenian Genocide
by Agence France Presse
Posted: Wednesday, November 08, 2000 07:58 pm CST

The French Senate early Wednesday approved a controversial bill recognising the massacre of Armenians by the Ottoman empire in 1915 as "genocide."

The upper house voted by 164 to 40 with four abstentions in favour of the bill.

The lower House National Assembly had already recognised the Armenian genocide in 1998.

Wednesday's vote was cheered by a crowd of Armenians in the public gallery who cried "bravo" and sung the "Marseillaise" the French national anthem.

Jean-Claude Gaudin sponsored the bill which stipulated that "France publicly recognises the Armenian genocide of 1915".

He said that the Senate bill was identical in meaning with that passed by the lower house MPs two years ago.

Armenians say that 1.5 million people died in massacres and mass deportations in the last days of the Ottoman empire, while Turkey claims a much smaller figure were killed in what it says was a revolt against the authorities.

Two weeks ago, the US House of Representatives won plaudits in Ankara when it decided not to proceed with a similar vote classifying the deaths as genocide.

On Tuesday, officials said that if the senators approved the text it would have to be re-submitted to the assembly and would face a long parliamentary battle before it became law due to procedural complications.

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