azerbaijan condemns adoption of "armenian genocide" bill by French senate

azerbaijan condemns adoption of "armenian genocide" bill by French senate

Azerbaijan flag and maps. (istimewa)

Contradicts the principles of democracy, human rights, freedom of speech and expression.
Baku (ANTARA News/Xinhua-OANA) - Azerbaijan condemned on Tuesday the adoption by France`s Senate of a bill making it a crime to deny the Armenian "genocide".

The bill, according to a statement by the Azerbaijani foreign ministry, "contradicts the principles of democracy, human rights, freedom of speech and expression."

The foreign ministry warned that the bill`s passage would cause serious problems for the country, which is involved in regional processes, and may have undesirable consequences.

The National Assembly of France on Monday approved a controversial bill that makes it a criminal offense to deny that genocide was committed by Ottoman Turks against Armenians during World War I. The bill, which was put forward by President Nicholas Sarkozy`s ruling UMP party, stipulates that anyone who says killings of Armenians by Ottoman Turks is not genocide faces a 58, 000-dollar fine and up to one year in jail.

France`s lower house of parliament passed the bill by 127 votes to 86 last month, and Sarkozy is likely to sign it into law.

The Turkish government argued that judging what happened to the Armenian community in eastern Turkey in 1915-1916 should be left to historians, and that the French law restricts freedom of speech.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has accused France of committing genocide in Algeria more than 60 years ago. He said French colonialists massacred 15 percent of Algeria`s population starting in 1945. He also accused Sarkozy of pandering to the hundreds of thousands of French citizens of Armenian descent heading into his re-election bid this year.

(U.C003)

(T.C003/C/C003/C003) 25-01-2012 08:02:39

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