ANCA Calls on White House to Withdraw Hoagland Nomination

WASHINGTON–Citing the growing controversy surrounding Ambassador-designate Dick Hoagland’s denial of the Armenian Genocide–as reflected by the "hold" placed by Senator Bob Menendez on his confirmation–the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) has asked members of the US Senate to call on President Bush to withdraw his nomination for the next US Ambassador to Armenia. In letters sent on November 8th to all one hundred Senators, ANCA Chairman Ken Hachikian stressed that: "Very simply, a genocide denier cannot effectively promote US interests or American values in Armenia–a country that rose from the ashes of Turkey’s genocidal campaign." He added that, "confirming an Ambassador to Armenia who denies the Armenian Genocide would dramatically undermine US diplomacy in Armenia and mark a major retreat from our nation’s noble commitment to genocide prevention." Community activists across the country are echoing this message in thousands of ANCA WebFaxes being sent to Senate offices from the ANCA website–www.anca.org. In announcing his decision to block the Hoagland nomination on September 12, Senator Menendez (D-NJ) highlighted the principled stand taken by former US Ambassador John Evans, who, by all accounts, was fired for speaking truthfully about the Armenian Genocide. The New Jersey legislator stated that he has "great concerns that Mr. Hoagland’s confirmation would be a step backward." Neither Ambassador-designate Hoagland, nor the Department of State, have taken any meaningful steps to address the three concerns raised by the ANCA in opposition to the Hoagland nomination. In a September 1 letter to members of the US Senate, the ANCA called for Senate opposition to the Hoagland nomination until: 1. Ambassador-designate Hoagland provides a responsible and unambiguous public statement affirming that he does not question the clear genocidal intent of the Ottoman Turkish government against its Armenian population. 2. The State Department provides a full, honest, and public explanation regarding the reasons for the controversial firing of the current Ambassador, John Marshall Evans. 3. The Administration explains any and all communications, directly or indirectly, between the US government and the Turkish government concerning Ambassador Evans. For an overview of the firing of Ambassador Evans and the Hoagland controversy, visit: http://www.anca.org/hoagland_controversy.php The full text of the November 8, 2006 ANCA letter is provided below. Dear Senator __________: I am writing to respectfully call on you to urge President Bush to withdraw the deeply flawed and increasingly controversial nomination of Dick Hoagland as US Ambassador to Armenia. As we have shared with you on several occasions, Ambassador-designate Hoagland’s statemen’s denying the Armenian Genocide disqualify him from serving in an effective capacity as America’s representative in Yerevan. As you recall, in his written responses to questions posed to him during his confirmation hearing, he went far beyond the bounds of the Administration’s already deeply flawed policy, actually calling into question the Armenian Genocide as a historical fact. His statemen’s are all the more troubling in light of the White House’s continued refusal to explain why it fired the previous US Ambassador to Armenia, John Evans, or to reveal the role that Turkey played in his dismissal. Very simply, a genocide denier cannot effectively promote US’ interests or American values in Armenia–a country that rose from the ashes of Turkey’s genocidal campaign. Confirming an Ambassador to Armenia who denies the Armenian Genocide would dramatically undermine US diplomacy in Armenia and would mark a major retreat from our nation’s noble commitment to genocide prevention. Based on these considerations, I respectfully call on you to publicly support the hold placed by Senator Robert Menendez and to urge the White House to withdraw the Hoagland nomination. Thank you for your consideration of the concerns of the Armenian American community on this matter. We would, of course, be pleased to meet with you to discuss this matter in person, or to forward to you additional materials in support of our request. If you have any questions, please contact the Armenian National Committee of America at (202) 775-1918 or anca@anca.org. Sincerely yours, [signed] Kenneth V. Hachikian Chairman

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