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  Tuesday, July 23, 2019
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A prominent Armenian organization in the United States accused U.S. President
A prominent Armenian organization in the United States accused U.S. President Barack Obama on Saturday of failing to follow up on his election promise to recognize the genocide of Armenians.

Obama made a statement on Friday dedicated to the commemoration of the deaths of an estimated 1.5 million Armenians at the end of the Ottoman period in 1915. However, the president called the deaths "one of the great atrocities of the 20th century" but stopped short of using the term "genocide" in his speech.

"President Obama had the opportunity to chart a new course toward the normalization of relations between Armenia and Turkey in his statement on April 24 by recognizing the Armenian Genocide, but he failed to deliver on the change he promised," the Armenian Assembly of America (AAA) said in a statement.

"His failure to affirm the proud chapter in U.S. history, the American response to the first genocide of the 20th century, has needlessly delayed the cause of genocide affirmation and diminishes U.S. credibility with regard to genocide prevention," the statement quoted AAA Executive Director Bryan Ardouny as saying.

Established in 1972, the Armenian Assembly of America is the largest Washington-based nationwide organization promoting public understanding and awareness of Armenian issues.

A number of states have recognized the killings in Armenia as the first genocide of the 20th century, including Russia, France, Italy, Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium and Greece, as well as 42 of the 50 U.S. states. The Vatican, the European Parliament and the World Council of Churches have also denounced the killings as genocide. Uruguay was the first to do so in 1965.

Turkey has always urged Armenia to end its attempts to have the killings recognized as an act of genocide.

Turkish and Armenian envoys have been holding closed negotiations in Switzerland for the past two years to try and stabilize ties.

The two countries came to an agreement Thursday on a "roadmap" aimed at normalizing bilateral relations.


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