*Baroness Cox leads effort to garner British recognition of Genocide.
LONDON (PA News)–A bid to get the British Government to recognize as "genocide" the deportation and massacre and slaughter of thousands of Armenia’s b the Ottoman government of Turkey in 1915–was rejected by ministers in the Lords tonight.
Foreign Office spokesman–Baroness Ramsay of Cartvale–said the British Government had condemned the massacres at the time.
She added–"the present British Government–like its predecessors–in no way dissents from that view–nor do we seek to deny what happened or try to play down the extent of the tragedy.
"But in the absence of unequivocal evidence that the Ottoman administration took a specific decision to eliminate the Armenia’s under their control at that time–British governmen’s have not recognized those events as indications of genocide.
"Nor do we believe it is the business of governmen’s of today to review events of over 80 years ago–with a view to pronouncing on them. The events of 1915-16 remain a painful issue in relation to two states with which we enjoy excellent relations.
"For our part–it is better to look forward rather than back. We hope Turkey and Armenia will be able to overcome their legacy of bitterness. The right approach is to urge the peoples of the region to look to the future."
Opening the debate–Baroness Cox said: "It is of the utmost importance for Armenia–Turkey and Britain that this genocide be recognized. The taboo which prevents mention of it is a hindrance to the healthy development of Turkey."
But crossbencher Lord Monson said that nothing would achieved by "waving an accusing finger at the Turks."
Another crossbencher–Viscount Waverley–agreed with him–saying: "History is invariably interpreted in a partisan – and therefore unreliable and inconsistent – manner."
Lord Person of Rannoch disagreed–saying "I have friends in Turkey and I cannot think of any of them who would not want their government to come clean on this dreadful event. What is wrong with confession? Isn’t it always cleansing?"
For the Tories–Lord Moynihan said–"We are very sympathetic to the symbolism that international recognition of what happened would have for the Armenian people. All governmen’s have a duty to assess this matter very carefully."