Senate Foreign Relations Committee Set to Consider New Nominee on June 28th at 2:30pm

June 20, 2006

WASHINGTON, DC – Armenian Americans across the U.S. will be closely following the Senate Foreign Relations Committee confirmation hearings for U.S. Ambassador to Armenia nominee Richard Hoagland, in hopes of gaining concrete insight into the exact nature of the State Department’s policy of complicity in Armenian Genocide denial – particularly as it relates to the firing of the current U.S. Ambassador to Armenia, John Marshall Evans, reported the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA).

The nomination hearing will be held on Wednesday, June 28th at 2:30 pm in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee room, 419 Dirksen Senate Office Building and is open to the public.

The hearing comes as Armenian American activists across the U.S. continue to call on Senators to demand a full explanation for the early recall of U.S. Ambassador to Armenia John Marshall Evans. Concerned Americans can join the ANCA Congressional Call-in Campaign to urge their Senators to attend the upcoming hearing and press for answers by visiting:

Amb. Evans, who first took on his post in August 2004, spoke openly and honestly about the Armenian Genocide in community briefings in San Francisco, and other cities in February 2005. The Ambassador was later forced by State Department leaders to twice recant his statement. The American Foreign Service Association, set to award Amb. Evans with the Christian A. Herter Award for constructive dissent, rescinded the decision, according to the Washington Post, following pressure from State Department officials.

Calls by Members of Congress, the media and activists for answers to Amb. Evans’ recall have been ignored or sidestepped by State Department spokespeople, who have simply repeated the fact that ambassadors serve at the pleasure of the U.S. President.

In recent weeks, Rep. Markey spearheaded a Congressional letter with sixty signatories calling for clarification on the recall. In the Senate, Massachusetts Democrats Edward Kennedy and John Kerry registered a similar letter of concern. In previous months, Representatives Adam Schiff (D-CA), Grace Napolitano (D-CA), and Armenian Caucus Co-Chair Frank Pallone (D-NJ) have each publicly called for an explanation for the State Department decision. No concrete answers have been provided to date.

On June 9th, ANCA Chairman Ken Hachikian, urged Senate Foreign Relations Committee members to demand the truth about the Evans firing prior to confirming his replacement. “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,” stated Hachikian. 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.”

Below find a list of suggested questions that Senators may ask Amb. Hoagland.


The Firing of U.S. Ambassador to Armenia, John Marshall Evans: Suggested Questions for the Ambassador to Armenia-Designate

* What guidance has the Department of State given you concerning your public statements on the Armenian Genocide?

* Has the Department of State instructed you not use the word genocide in characterizing the Armenian Genocide?

* Has the Department of State instructed other Department of State employees or government officials not use the word genocide in characterizing the Armenian Genocide? If your answer is yes, was this instruction given in writing?

* What instructions do you intend to give your Embassy staff concerning statements about the Armenian Genocide?

* What, in your opinion, is the impact on U.S.-Armenia relations of having an Ambassador in Yerevan who fails to properly recognize the genocidal crime that destroyed the majority of the Armenian people, exiled a nation from its historic homeland, and continues to severely impact the future of the Republic of Armenia?

* What is your understanding about the recall of your predecessor? Specifically, can you describe the events, policies, and process that led to his recall; explain the reasons for his replacement, and; share your views on the implications of this action on the U.S. Embassy in Armenia?

* What training and education have you received from the Department of State on the Armenian Genocide?

* What are your thoughts about the Armenian Genocide – as a historical event, a moral issue, a subject of denial, and a matter of ongoing geopolitical significance?

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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