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CRAG E-Alert - 2 December 2004

Dear Friends & Supporters:

*** SLOVAKIAN PARLIAMENT PASSES ARMENIAN GENOCIDE BILL ***

Introduced by the Christian Democratic Party, the parliament of Slovakia unanimously passed yesterday the Armenian Genocide resolution.

According to the approved resolution, the National Assembly of Slovakia recognizes and condemns the 1915 Armenian Genocide in Ottoman Turkey, whose victims were 'hundreds of thousands' of Armenians, as a crime against humanity.

In order to recognize the genocide, the Slovakian parliament in Bratislava had to overcome a strong counteraction of the Foreign Ministry.

The Armenian Genocide and Turkey's accession to the European Union were the key issues on the agenda of the Slovakia parliament. Some of the Slovakian cabinet members have noted that Turkey is the place where recognition of the Armenian Genocide should take place.

The Slovak Republic is a landlocked nation-state in Central Europe and is bordered by the Czech Republic, Poland, Ukraine, Hungary and Austria.

II.

Recap & Update:

The Chair of CRAG sent a letter to Mr Dennis MacShane on 14th October (as yet unanswered) following his Oral Answer to a Question by Mr Angus Robertson, SNP Member for Moray, during the Debate of 12 October 2004
on Turkey.

On 9th November, the following Parliamentary Question was put to Mr Dennis MacShane by Mr Graham Brady, Conservative Member of Parliament for Altrincham & Sale West (Manchester):

9 Nov 2004: Column 628W. Armenian community (Turkey)

Mr. Brady: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps he is taking to promote reconciliation between the Armenian community in Turkey and the government of Turkey. [196115]

Mr. MacShane: As the European Commission's 6 October report noted, Turkey has put in place reforms to minority rights and religious freedoms in its bid to open accession negotiations with the EU. In January a 'Minority Issues Assessment Board' was set up to address the problems of non-Muslim minorities, such as the Armenians. Further progress, however, is still required and I continue to press the Turkish Government for further reforms.

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