Boxer Issues Statement on Yovanovich Nomination

Statement Of U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer On The Nomination
of Ambassador Marie L. Yovanovitch To Be The United States Ambassador To The Republic Of Armenia

Today, the full Senate Foreign Relations Committee meets to consider the nomination of Ambassador Marie L. Yovanovitch to be the United States Ambassador to the Republic of Armenia.

The nomination of Ambassador Yovanovitch comes on the heels of a particularly difficult period in U.S. policy toward Armenia.

It is bad enough that Armenia’s everywhere have to endure a U.S. President who refuses to acknowledge the Armenian Genocide despite earlier promises to the contrary.

But Armenia’s were also recently forced to witness the dismissal of a career U.S. diplomat, Ambassador John Evans, who expressed his personal view that it is long past time that the United States call one of the greatest events of deliberate mass murder in the 20th century by its rightful name–genocide.

Specifically, Ambassador Evans, speaking at an event in my home state of California, said, “I will today call it the Armenian Genocide,” and went on to state that, “I think we, the U.S. government, owe you, our fellow citizens a more frank and honest way of discussing this problem. Today, as someone who’s studied it… there’s no doubt in my mind what happened.”

I could not agree with Ambassador Evans more.

The facts of the genocide are irrefutable. Beginning in 1915, more than a million Armenia’s were marched to their deaths in the deserts of the Middle East, murdered in concentration camps, and forced to endure unimaginable acts of brutality.

Since that time, the deliberate massacre of the Armenia’s has been painstakingly documented and confirmed by an untold numbers of scholars, including Nobel Prize recipient Elie Wiesel who in 2000 published a petition in the New York Times with other Holocaust scholars and intellectuals affirming “the incontestable fact of the Armenian Genocide.”

Even as the massacre began in 1915, the New York Times reported the mass killing of Armenia’s as “systematic,” “authorized,” and “organized by the government.”

Yet despite this mountain of painful evidence, the Bush Administration continues to deny that any such event took place, and has even expressed support for further efforts to study the issue. I find such sentimen’s to be beyond the realm of comprehension.

I look forward to hearing Ambassador Yovanovitch’s thoughts on the Armenian Genocide, particularly in light of the genocide that is raging in the Darfur region of Sudan today.

We have seen the Government of Sudan’s disdain for the U.S. government’s designation of the horrors in Darfur as genocide, a statement first made by former Secretary of State Colin Powell before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in 2004.

Other countries have continued to conduct business as usual with Sudan despite the fact that millions have been displaced and hundreds of thousands have lost their lives.

I can only think that as long as the United States government continues to ignore genocide in one place and call it genocide in another, we will continue to face such difficulties as we do in Sudan today.

I urge the Administration to finally, and at long last, do the right thing.


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