Question : Do you have a date in mind for bringing the Resolution to the floor ?
Pelosi : I don’t have a date in mind. We have next week set up, but it will be before the end of the session.
Question : Some people think that you may not do it now, that you let the committee work its will and that will be the end of it. Can you tell us that that’s not the case ?
Pelosi : No, I said that if it comes out of committee, it will go to the floor. Now it has come out of committee and it will go to the floor.
Question : Given the mounting words over this issue and pressure from the Turkish officials, why press this issue now ?
Pelosi : Well, you know, I’ve been in Congress for twenty years and for twenty years, people have been saying the same thing : that Turkey ’s strategic location during the Cold War-that was before the Soviet Union came down-they said because of Turkey ’s strategic location and our relationship, we couldn’t do it then. Then after that came Gulf War I . Then, in the Clinton years, it was the overflights and the pipeline. Now they’re saying Gulf War II . . . So why do it now ? Because there’s never a good time and all of us in the Democratic leadership have supported reiterating Americans’ acknowledgment of the Genocide. In the earliest days when the Genocide was happening our diplomats there reported a plan for the elimination of a race, of Armenians.
Ronald Reagan in 1981, President Reagan, referred to the Armenian Genocide and said that we must not ever forget that or other persecutions of people that have occurred. While that may have been a long time ago, genocide is taking place now in Darfur , as it did in recent memory in Rwanda . So as long as there is genocide, there is a need to speak out against it."
Question : Are the negative consequences Turkey talks about worth it ?
Pelosi : Well, the US and Turkey have a very strong relationship. It is based on mutual interest and I, with all the respect in the world for the government of Turkey , believe that our continued mutual interest will have us grow that relationship. This isn’t about the Erdogan government. This is about the Ottoman Empire .
Question : The Prime Minister today said he will ask parliament for permission for an incursion into northern Iraq . Don’t you think that this will affect US troops in Iraq ? Don’t you think that bringing the Armenian resolution to the floor will affect US troops in Iraq ?
Pelosi : Do you think that the Prime Minister of Turkey asked the Parliament of Turkey for permission to have an incursion into Iraq because of the Armenian Resolution ? I don’t think so. This is about Turkey ’s plans ; this isn’t about our resolution about a genocide.
Question : But it was after your resolution and this is when . . .
Pelosi : Does the Prime Minister wish to imply that but for the resolution they wouldn’t have this incursion ? I don’t think so. But, as I said, we have a respectful, strong, and long-term relationship with Turkey ; very respectful of the fact that it is a democracy, that is a friend, that we work together in our mutual interest.
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