WASHINGTON, DC – The Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) today urged U.S. Senators to demand a full and open explanation of the highly controversial firing of the current U.S. Ambassador to Armenia, John Evans, before the Senate moves to confirm a new envoy to Yerevan.
In June 9th letters, ANCA Chairman Ken Hachikian encouraged Senators to vigorously investigate the reasons behind the Administration’s decision to recall the Ambassador more than a year prior to the end of his normal term of office.
The Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, the Fresno Bee have reported that the State Department’s actions against Ambassador Evans were due to his comments, made during February, 2005 speeches to Armenian American audiences, accurately and openly describing the Armenian Genocide as a clear instance of genocide. Despite more than 60 Members of Congress having called for an official explanation of the Administration’s policies and actions on this matter, over the past four months the White House and State Department have yet to offer any meaningful explanation about the dismissal of this highly-regarded, 35-year veteran of the Foreign Service.
Hachikian stressed, in his letters, that, “The U.S. Senate cannot, in good conscience, approve the nomination of a new ambassador to Armenia until the circumstances of the current envoy’s highly controversial firing are fully, officially, and openly explained to Congress and the American people. More broadly, the Administration needs to honestly explain its policies and actions concerning the Armenian Genocide. This is especially true given that serious questions remain unanswered concerning the role that a foreign nation – the Turkish Government – played in Ambassador Evans’ firing.”
The ANCA letter closed with Hachikian urging Senators to delay the final approval of the incoming ambassador until the Administration clearly and openly explains its policies and actions in connection to the firing of Ambassador Evans.
Hachikian’s letters to the 18 members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee addressed their special oversight during the panel’s upcoming confirmation hearing for the President’s nominees to serve as the next Ambassador to Armenia.
A copy of the ANCA letter is provided below.
June 9, 2006
Washington, DC 20510
Dear Senator <
I am writing, on behalf of the Armenian American community, to ask you – in an exercise of your constitutional oversight responsibility – to demand that the Administration explain its reasons for firing the U.S. Ambassador to Armenia, John Marshall Evans.
It is our understanding, based on information from within the State Department, the U.S. Embassy in Armenia, the White House, and published reports, that Ambassador Evans is being recalled over his February 2005 statements at Armenian American community events characterizing the Armenian Genocide as a clear case of genocide. The Administration, however, despite months of Congressional inquiries, has yet to offer any meaningful explanation of why this highly-regarded diplomat is being dismissed nearly a year before the end of his normal term of office.
The U.S. Senate cannot, in good conscience, approve the nomination of a new ambassador to Armenia until the circumstances of the current envoy’s highly controversial firing are fully, officially, and openly explained to Congress and the American people. More broadly, the Administration needs to honestly explain its policies concerning the Armenian Genocide. This is especially true given that serious questions remain unanswered concerning the role that the Turkish Government played in Ambassador Evans’ firing.
I have attached two sets of suggested questions, one for the Secretary of State and the other for the ambassador-designate during his upcoming confirmation hearing. If, after this hearing, these questions remain unanswered, I would respectfully suggest that you use your prerogatives as a Senator to delay the Senate’s confirmation until the Administration clearly explains its policies and actions on this matter.
Kenneth V. Hachikian