Boxer Secures Delay as State Dept. Fails to Provide Responses to Senate Inquiries

WASHINGTON–Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) today secured a one-month delay in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s consideration of the confirmation of U.S. Ambassador to Armenia nominee Marie Yovanovitch in response to the State Department’s delay in providing timely written responses to the eight sets of written questions submitted to her by members of the panel, reported the Armenian National Committee of America.

"Senator Boxer not only provided Senators with the opportunity they would otherwise have been denied to meaningfully review the nominee’s responses, but also, very significantly, ensured that all Americans citizens ‘s including Armenian Americans and those who share our commitment to ending the cycle of genocide ‘s have a chance to study her answers and take part in the civic discourse over a diplomatic posting that has been the center of national attention since the Administration’s firing of Ambassador John Evans over his truthful remarks on the Armenian Genocide," said ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian.

"Throughout this process, we have been deeply gratified by the vigorous oversight exercised by so many Senators over a set of deeply flawed policies toward Armenia and the region, particularly the excellent line of questions posed by Senator Bob Menendez at last week’s Foreign Relations Committee hearing, and the extensive written inquiries that he and his Senate colleagues ‘s panel Chairman Joe Biden, Barbara Boxer, Robert Casey, Norm Coleman, Russ Feingold, John Kerry, and Presidential candidate Barack Obama ‘s have submitted to Ambassador Designate Yovanovitch."

As of close of business the day before the Committee was set to vote on the nomination, the nominee had yet to respond to all Senate inquiries, with several responses only being provided hours before the scheduled vote. The Senate Committee vote will likely be held following the July 4th Congressional recess. Ambassador Designate Yovanovitch’s currently available responses are posted on the ANCA website.

On March 28, President Bush nominated Amb. Marie L. Yovanovitch to serve as America’s next Ambassador to Armenia. The ANCA has spoken to Committee members about the value of carefully questioning Amb. Yovanovitch on the many issues she will face as the U.S. envoy in Yerevan, among them the recognition of the Armenian Genocide, Turkey and Azerbaijan’s ongoing blockades of Armenia, and the need for a balanced U.S. role in helping forge a democratic and peaceful resolution to the Nagorno Karabakh conflict. These efforts have been supported by extensive on-line outreach and a national postcard campaign to key Senate Foreign Relations Committee members.

Last week, Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) sharply criticized the Bush Administration’s policy of Armenian Genocide denial, dramatically pressing the Ambassadorial nominee regarding the Administration’s refusal to properly characterize Ottoman Turkey’s systematic destruction of its Armenian population as Genocide.

President Bush’s previous nominee as U.S. Ambassador to Armenia, Richard Hoagland, was subjected to two legislative holds by Sen. Menendez and his name ultimately withdrawn by the Administration, following the nominee’s statemen’s denying the Armenian Genocide.

The ANCA led the Armenian American community campaign opposing Hoagland’s nomination, stating that a genocide denier could not serve as a credible and effective U.S. spokesperson in Armenia. The last U.S. Ambassador to Armenia, John Marshall Evans, was fired by the State Department for properly characterizing the Armenian Genocide as "genocide."

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