PARIS — Turkish State Minister and Chief EU negotiator Egemen Bagis said French officials had assured him they would not contribute to adoption of draft bill on bringing criminal charges against Armenian Genocide deniers. He told reporters on Thursday that French government officials guaranteed him that the current government is “openly and clearly” against the bill in the French Senate.
Egemen Bagis stressed that the bill contradicts freedom of speech. He described the members of the Armenian diaspora trying to pass such legislation as nothing but “merchants of hatred”.
Bagis’s remarks came after his talks with French Interior Minister Claude Gueant, Agriculture Minister Bruno Le Maire, French Minister for European Affairs Laurent Wauquiez and French President Nicolas Sarkozy’s special presidential adviser Henri Guaino. Bagis said the government officials also pledged to caution the Socialist Party, the primary sponsor of the bill, against bringing the bill to the Senate’s agenda.
The Socialists have decided to use the parliamentary rostrum on May 4 (MPs can submit bills on this day) to submit the issue of ratification of the law penalizing denial of the Armenian Genocide for discussion, adopted by the National Assembly on October 12, 2006.

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