Stresses Need for Strict Scrutiny of Nominee to Serve as U.S. Ambassador to Azerbaijan

July 12, 2010

WASHINGTON, DC – The Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) today shared with members of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee a 7-page review of potential conflict of interest and policy-related reservations regarding President Obama’s nomination of Matthew Bryza to serve as Ambassador to the Republic of Azerbaijan.

In letters sent to each of the panel’s 19 members, ANCA Chairman Ken Hachikian explained that the Armenian American community’s concerns on the Bryza nomination fall into “two general categories, the first pertaining to potential conflicts of interest, and the second to shortcomings in his execution of our nation’s foreign policy priorities.” Click here for the full text of this ANCA review.

“There is,” explained Hachikian, “credible cause, in our view, for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to look into how the professional activities of Mr. Bryza’s wife, scholar Zeyno Baran, may have created potential conflict of interest issues with the conduct of his official duties.” He noted that, “As is a matter of public record, Ms. Baran has professionally engaged in advocacy regarding the same U.S. policies and practices that Mr. Bryza has had an official role in formulating and implementing. Her employer, the Hudson Institute, again as a matter of public knowledge, receives funding from foreign and corporate interests, including energy firms, that are financially affected by the conduct of the very U.S. diplomacy that Mr. Bryza has overseen, and would certainly play a central role in coordinating if approved as U.S. Ambassador to Azerbaijan.”

In addition to addressing potential conflict of interest issues, the ANCA review covers Bryza’s diplomatic activity in the following areas:

— Failure to Meaningfully Respond to Azerbaijan’s Videotaped Destruction of a 1,300 Year-Old Armenian Cemetery

— Failure to Fully Implement U.S. Congressional Appropriations for Nagorno Karabagh

— Failure to Seriously Confront Drumbeat of War in Georgia and Azerbaijan

— False Claim that Armenia Excluded Nagorno Karabagh from the Peace Process

— False Prioritization of Territorial Integrity over Self-Determination

— False Accusation that Armenia “Occupies” Azerbaijani Territory

— Prohibition on U.S. Communications with Nagorno Karabagh’s Government

— Pressure on Armenia to Make Unilateral Concessions on Nagorno Karabagh

— Pressure on Armenia to Accept Turkey-Armenia Roadmap

— Firing of Ambassador John Evans

Hachikian closed his correspondence by underscoring that, “in light of the vital role that will be played by the next U.S. Ambassador to Azerbaijan, particularly in terms of a Nagorno Karabagh resolution, we strongly believe that the concerns we have raised regarding potential conflicts of interest, and, equally, the full range of policy issues addressed in our reference materials, deserve the close attention of your office, the full Foreign Relations Committee, and the entire U.S. Senate.”

The ANCA has posted an action alert allowing citizens to forward the ANCA review directly to their U.S. Senators. Click here to send an action alert.


For Immediate Release
Media Contact: Elizabeth S. Chouldjian
Email / Tel: (202) 775-1918 / (703) 585-8254 cell
Armenian National Committee of America
1711 N Street, NW, Washington, DC 20036
Tel. (202) 775-1918 * Fax. (202) 775-5648 *
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