Pope Francis gives his weekly general audience at St Peter's square on June 22, 2016 in Vatican. / AFP / TIZIANA FABI
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Pope Francis visits Armenia this weekend and will try to avoid reigniting a diplomatic dispute with Turkey after his branding of the 1915 mass killings of Armenians as a genocide infuriated Ankara last year.Last year Francis described the killing of up to 1.5 million Armenians in World War One as "the first genocide of the 20th century," days before commemorations to mark the centenary of the massacres in April.Many Western historians use the word genocide to describe the events of a century ago and about a dozen EU countries have infuriated Turkey by passing resolutions officially recognizing the Armenian massacre as a genocide.Lombardi rejected a reporter's suggestion that since the pope had used the word genocide last year the Vatican had chosen a policy of "reductionism" to placate Turkey.Only about 280,000 of Armenia's population of around 3 million people are Roman Catholic.
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