Ambassador Nominee Testifies Before Senate Committee

WASHINGTON–In testimony Wednesday before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee–US Ambassador to Armenia nominee Michael Lemmon restated the Administration’s support for the repeal of the ban on US aid to Azerbaijan through the passage of the Sen. Brownback’s Silk Road Strategy Act–reported the Armenian National Committee of America.

"The Administration believes that Section 907 is a mistake. It should be suspended," argued Lemmon in response to a question by Foreign Relations Committee member Gordon Smith (R-Ore.). When asked about the US position on the status of Nagorno-Karabakh during the peace negotiations–Lemmon stated that–"I believe that the US government position is that Nagorno-Karabakh is part of Azerbaijan." He went on to note that the concepts of territorial integrity and self-determination need to be reconciled during the negotiations process.

In his remarks before the Committee–Lemmon noted that he had first visited Armenia 22 years ago with Ambassador Walter Stossel and his family. "I remember how impressed we all were by the incredible accomplishmen’s of the Armenian people in building a viable homeland in difficult circumstances–skillfully navigating the shoals of Soviet politics to maximize their opportunities. On regaining independence in 1991 and in the years since–Armenia faces new challenges and opportunities in coming to terms with a tragic past in order to address a troubled present and to build a secure–democratic and prosperous future–fully integrated into regional and international processes and institutions."

Lemmon entered the foreign service in 1974 and is currently a Career Member of the Senior Foreign Service–Class of Counselor. He has held positions in Moscow–Islamabad and Rabat–returning to Washington–in 1992 as the first Director for Regional Affairs in the new South Asia Bureau. Prior to his nomination–Lemmon served as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Regional Security Affairs in the State Department’s Political-Military Bureau.

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