The US House of Representatives passed a landmark resolution on Tuesday to formally recognize the Armenian Genocide.
It was applauded when the House passed a vote of 405 to 11 that confirms the US recognition of the Armenian genocide, the first time such a vote has come to Congress after several previous attempts.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she was honored to vote for it “in solemn remembrance of one of the great atrocities of the 20th century: the systematic murder of more than 1.5 million Armenian men, women and children by the Ottoman Empire”.
Armenians consider the mass murder of their people between 1915 and 1917 to be genocide, a claim recognized by some 30 countries and denied by Turkey.
“We will not be a party to the denial of the Armenian genocide,” said Adam Schiff, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, adding that they fought for 19 years to vote on this resolution.
Schiff continued: “We will not be silent and we will not forget the Armenian genocide”.
Former US Vice President Joe Biden welcomed the US House of Representatives resolution recognizing the Armenian genocide, saying: “Our recognition of the Armenian genocide restores consideration to the victims”.
The head of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Eliot Engel, said that the recognition of the Armenian genocide was a necessary step.
Earlier, the Wall Street Journal revealed that the US House of Representatives is ready to vote on a resolution to recognize the Armenian genocide committed by the Ottoman Empire, a move its lawmakers say comes after fears of possible Turkish atrocities against Kurds in northern Syria.
The issue of US recognition of what happened to Armenians from 1915 to 1923 has been a long-running controversy in America. It has been the subject of years of pressure and a diplomatic battle between lawmakers, the US administration and Turkey, the NATO’s ally.
Congress has tried to take a similar resolution several times over the past few decades, but these attempts have not led to the formal recognition of the genocide because of Turkish pressure and successive presidential administrations concerned about the isolation of NATO ally.