Kerry Nomination Paves Way for Menendez to Chair Senate Committee

Secretary of State nominee, Senator John Kerry with his wife, Teresa Heinz Kerry, and ANCA leaders and activists (from l to r): Raffi Hamparian, Michael Mahdesian, Ken Hachikian, Varant and Hoori Melkonian.

ANCA Welcomes Legislator with Legacy of Supporting Armenian American Issues to America’s Top Diplomatic Posting

WASHINGTON—President Obama on Friday nominated long-time Armenian American issues supporter, Senator John Kerry (D-MA), as his next Secretary of State, with Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) widely considered to take his place as the next Chairman of the powerful Senate Foreign Relations Committee, reported the Armenian National Committee of America.

“We welcome President Obama’s nomination of Senator Kerry – a legislator with a three decade-long record of support for Armenia and a legacy of advocacy for the foreign policy priorities of Armenian Americans – as our nation’s next Secretary of State,” said ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian.  “We look forward to continuing to work constructively with Senator Kerry, now in his new role at the Department of State, as we seek to lift Turkey’s gag-rule on American recognition of the Armenian Genocide, strengthen U.S.-Armenia ties, and put in place freedom-based solutions that provide security to the Republic of Nagorno Karabakh.”

Senator Kerry was first elected to the Senate in 1984.  He succeeded now-Vice President Joe Biden as Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in 2009.  Over the years, Senator Kerry has been a strong advocate for Congressional affirmation of the Armenian Genocide, cosponsoring many resolutions to end U.S. complicity in Turkey’s denial of this still unpunished crime.  As a member of the Foreign Relations Committee, he pressed ambassadorial nominee to Turkey, Francis Ricciardone about U.S. policy on the Armenian Genocide, Turkey’s blockade of Armenia, and the pending Turkey-Armenia Protocols.  He is not currently a cosponsor of the Armenian Genocide Resolution.

In the early 1990s, Senator Kerry was a vocal leader in support of Senate adoption of Section 907 of the FREEDOM Support Act, which restricted U.S. assistance to Azerbaijan until it lifted its blockades and stopped its aggression against Armenia and Nagorno Karabakh.  Earlier this year, Chairman Kerry was “shocked and appalled” at Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev’s pardon, praise and promotion of convicted Azerbaijani axe-murderer Ramil Safarov. “This needlessly provocative act endangers the fragile peace between these countries and damages the government of Azerbaijan’s credibility,” noted Senator Kerry.

The ANCA had endorsed Senator Kerry in his bid for the presidency in 2004 against Republican incumbent President George W. Bush.

Senator Kerry will likely be succeeded by Senator Robert Menendez as Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.  Senator Menendez has been an outspoken advocate for U.S. affirmation of the Armenian Genocide since his years in the House of Representatives.  He is the lead sponsor for the Senate Armenian Genocide Resolution (S.Res.399) introduced earlier this year.  Senator Menendez was joined by Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) in blocking the nomination of Dick Hoagland, President George W. Bush’s nominee as U.S. Ambassador to Armenia, after Hoagland denied the Armenian Genocide during his Senate confirmation process.  Later, Senators Menendez and Boxer successfully opposed the nomination of U.S. Ambassador to Azerbaijan Matthew Bryza, expressing concerns about his serious shortcomings in his track record as a senior diplomat dealing with the Caucasus.

Among the other changes in the Senate Committee leadership include Senator Barbara Mikulski’s selection to serve as Chairwoman of the powerful Senate Appropriations Committee, taking over the position from Hawaii Senator Daniel Inouye, who passed away earlier this week.


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  1. Armen said:

    I like to congratulate Mr. Kerry, and wish him a success in coming years, May God bless him, and true him bring a justice to our just cause, and let the truth finally overcome the cover up and the silence. I believe his nomination by Mr. president is very wise and it is the best Christmas gift from God to us, Merry Christmas and Happy new year to everybody.

    • Viken Karapetian said:

      No US policy will change as a result of this nomination. Kerry is not even one of the 17 cosponsors of the current Genocide resolution in the Senate.

  2. sam said:

    Now there will be extra pressure on Armenia to curtail its relations with Iran and the Russians and be more generous to the Azeris
    Kerry’s first priorities is what’s best for America as it should
    Senator Menendez is a true friend

  3. John K said:

    It’s all fine and dandy. Let us see how long will Sen. Kerry’s metamorphosis, from genocide claim supporter to denier take

  4. MK said:

    To be perfectly honest, I don’t expect anything new or pro Armenia,he will play the same tape as Hillary which is anti Armenian.

  5. ohannes said:

    Armenian National Committee just look the past
    Senator Obama was supporter Armenian Genocide
    Senator Clinton was supporter Armenian Genocide
    congress woman Nancy Pelosi was supporter Armenian Genocide
    look what happen to this three Amigos or three Musketeers they stub as from the face and from the back
    USA National security comes first week up ANCA now Senator Karry will come
    fourth Amigo or Musketeer