On the heels of Pope Francis’ historic statement reaffirming the Armenian Genocide and the European Parliament’s overwhelming condemnation of that crime last week, Senators Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), Barbara Boxer (D-Ill.), and Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) introduced legislation seeking durable Armenian-Turkish relations based on Turkey’s “full acknowledgment” of the Armenian Genocide, reported the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA), PanARMENIAN.Net reports.

“One hundred years ago, 1.5 million (Christian) Armenian men, women, and children were killed by Ottoman Turks during the Armenian Genocide,” Sen. Menendez said. “It is past time for this atrocity to be recognized for what it was: a targeted ethnic cleansing of the Armenian population. This Resolution makes clear that it is unacceptable to deny the facts and history of the Armenian Genocide and continue to silence the voices of those who perished. As the world gathers to commemorate the centenary of the Armenian Genocide on April 24, the United States must commit itself to recognizing the full meaning, magnitude and history of this genocide in order to both honor the innocent victims and prevent similar tragedies from happening again,” he said.

“This year marks the 100th anniversary of the beginning of one of the greatest crimes against humanity of the 20th century, the Armenian Genocide,” said Gardner. “The lives of as many as 1.5 million men, women, and children were brutally ended, leaving lasting scars on the families and communities affected. This resolution honors the memory of those who were killed, and helps us resolve anew to never allow such an event to occur again.”

The bipartisan legislation is being launched on the eve of President Barack Obama’s anticipated April 24 statement, widely viewed as a watershed moment in terms of U.S. policy on the Armenian Genocide.