Biden's recognition of Armenian massacres as genocide is to honor victims - U.S. official

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WASHINGTON, April 24 (Reuters) - U.S. President Joe Biden's recognition that the 1915 massacres of Armenians in the final years of the Ottoman Empire constituted genocide aims to honor the victims and is not to assign blame, a senior administration official said, emphasizing that Washington still sees Ankara as an important NATO ally.

Biden's first telephone call with Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan on Friday was "professional" and "straightforward", the official told reporters, speaking on the condition of anonymity.

During the call, Biden told Erdogan he planned to make an announcement about the genocide statement, the official said, and that the state of U.S.-Turkey ties, which has deteriorated sharply in the past two years, was also briefly discussed.

"The president has a desire to work closely with President Erdogan to address all of these issues, and that was why he suggested that they take the opportunity to meet in person when they're both at the NATO summit in June to have a fulsome discussion on all of these issues," the official said.

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Reporting by Humeyra Pamuk; Editing by Grant McCool and Daniel Wallis

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