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Armenian Ruling Party 'Regrets' French Decision On Genocide Denial

Armenians rally outside the French Embassy in Yerevan to thank France for a bill passed by its Senate making denial of the Armenian genocide a crime on January 24.
YEREVAN -- Armenia's ruling Republican Party of Armenia (HHK) says it "regrets" a decision by France's Constitutional Court invalidating a law that made it a crime to deny that the killings of some 1.5 million Armenians by Ottoman Turks in 1915 constituted genocide.

The Armenian government, however, has refrained from any official reaction.

HHK spokesman and deputy parliament speaker Eduard Sharamazanov attributed the court's ruling on February 28 to "internal political issues" in France and intense lobbying by Turkey.

A senior member of the opposition Armenian Revolutionary Federation said the court had succumbed to "Turkish pressure, threats, and bribes."

Sharamazanov said it is "very important" that French President Nicolas Sarkozy has ordered his government to draft a new bill on the topic.