Sen. Menendez Places Second Hold on Hoagland Nomination

WASHINGTON– United States Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ), a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Thursday placed a second hold on the nomination of Richard E. Hoagland, the Bush administration’s nominee to be U.S. Ambassador to Armenia. This is the second hold Menendez has placed on Hoagland’s nomination since last September. The hold, a parliamentary privilege accorded to U.S. Senators, follows the Bush administration’s re-nomination of Hoagland to serve in this post– a move necessitated by the lapsing of Hoagland’s previous nomination last year. "By all accounts, Ambassador Hoagland is a distinguished career Foreign Service Officer who has served America with distinction and honor during his time at the State Dept.," Menendez said. "However, given the circumstances and controversy surrounding Mr. Hoagland’s nomination, I believe that the best way to move forward would be for the president to nominate a new candidate for this ambassadorship. "I also believe that the State Dept. and the Bush administration are just flat-out wrong in their refusal to recognize the Armenian genocide. It is well past time for American diplomacy to drop the euphemisms, the wink-wink, nod-nod brand of foreign policy that overlooks heinous atrocities committed around the world. "If there is any sincerity behind the Bush administration’s rhetoric about ‘liberty on the march’– if ‘never again’ is to be more than a bumper sticker slogan– then American diplomacy should consist of nothing less than unvarnished honesty with our friends and enemies alike. And we must call genocide by its name." Menendez and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) last month wrote to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice urging her to withdraw the nomination of Richard E. Hoagland to be U.S. Ambassador to Armenia. Hoagland’s nomination has been beset by controversy from the outset. Menendez in September lodged a hold on Hoagland’s nomination, using a parliamentary privilege afforded to U.S. Senators that prevented the ambassador-designate’s confirmation by the full Senate. Because of this controversy, Menendez and Reid called on Secretary Rice to advance another candidate for consideration.

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