WASHINGTON, Oct 10 (Reuters) US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice warned today that a congressional resolution calling the 1915 massacres of Armenians genocide would be ''very problematic'' for US efforts in the West Asia.
The resolution to be considered by the US House of Representatives later in the day would be ''very destabilizing to our efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan because Turkey, as an important strategic ally, is very critical in supporting the efforts that we are making in these crucial areas,'' Rice said at the White House.
President George W Bush was to make a statement later asking Congress not to support the resolution.
Turkey has warned of damage to bilateral ties if Congress passes the Armenian genocide bill, and a delegation of Turkish lawmakers visited Capitol Hill yesterday underscore that point.
The House Foreign Affairs Committee is to consider the measure later today, and if it passes, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a longtime supporter of the resolution, could then decide to bring it before the full House of Representatives for a vote.
Many Democrats, who control Congress, support the resolution, which has 226 co-sponsors, more than half the House.
Rice and Defense Secretary Robert Gates made statements to reporters at the White House, emphasizing the administration's strong concern that the resolution would hurt US ties with Turkey.
''This is not to ignore what was a really terrible situation and we recognize the feelings of those who want to express their concern and their disdain for what happened many years ago,'' Rice said.
''But the passage of this resolution at this time would indeed be very problematic for everything we are trying to do in the West Asia because we are very dependent on a good Turkish strategic ally to help with our efforts,'' she said.
Turkey strongly rejects the Armenian position, backed by many Western historians and a growing number of foreign parliaments, that up to 1.5 million Armenians suffered genocide at the hands of Ottoman Turks during World War One.
Ankara says many Muslim Turks as well as Christian Armenians died in inter-ethnic conflict as the Ottoman Empire collapsed.
The resolution recognizing the 1915 mass killings of Armenians by Turks as genocide was introduced in the House by Rep. Adam Schiff, a California Democrat who has a large number of Armenian-Americans in his district.
REUTERS SYU BST2223