Senate Panel Approves Bryza Nomination

Boxer, Menendez Oppose Controversial Conformation

ANCA Urges Senators to Block Final Action on Bryza Nomination

Each Senator has the Right to Place a “Hold” on Nominee

WASHINGTON – Despite serious concerns regarding U.S. Ambassador to Azerbaijan-designate Matt Bryza’s unusually close ties to Azerbaijani government officials, his troubling track record as a senior diplomat dealing with the Caucasus, and persistent conflict of interest issues related to the Caspian energy industry, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Tuesday voted to approve his nomination by voice vote, with Senators Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Robert Menendez (D-NJ) both speaking and voting against his confirmation, reported the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA).

“We want to thank Senators Boxer and Menendez for standing up against the deeply flawed Bryza nomination,” said ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian. “Sending Matt Bryza to Baku amid escalating threats of renewed war by Azerbaijan’s leaders would undermine U.S. interests, hinder the advancement of democratic values, and set back the search for a lasting peace for all the nations of the Caucasus. He clearly is the wrong diplomat, at the wrong time, for the exactly the wrong post.”

In her remarks during today’s Committee meeting, Senator Boxer explained that she voted against the Bryza nomination because he had not demonstrated the willingness or the ability to meaningfully confront Azerbaijan’s aggression.

“Despite my appreciation for Mr. Bryza’s long service as a Foreign Service Officer, I don’t believe he is the right person for this position,” explained Sen. Boxer. “What concerns me is that Mr. Bryza has demonstrated a pattern of unwillingness to speak out forcefully in the face of increasing Azerbaijani aggression against Nagorno Karabakh.”

Senator Menendez noted that he had “serious reservations about the U.S. ambassador nominee to Azerbaijan,” citing Bryza’s inaction in the face of Azerbaijan’s desecration of the Djulfa cemetery and opposition to Armenian Genocide affirmation; and, “very close personal ties to Turkey and Azerbaijan and therefore about his ability to act as an unbiased representative of the United States in Azerbaijan.”

The panel’s Chairman, John Kerry (D-MA), stated that he appreciated the concerns raised by Senators Menendez and Boxer, but ultimately voted for Bryza’s confirmation.

Hamparian continued, noting, “Our nation’s important diplomatic work in Azerbaijan would be best served by a fresh start, one without the bias and baggage that Matt Bryza would bring to this pivotal position. Our hope now is that the Senate will block his confirmation, and that the President will offer a new candidate who will openly stand up to Azerbaijan’s aggression and forcefully deter its march toward renewed war against Nagorno Karabakh.”

Each Senator has the right to place a “hold” on an ambassadorial nomination, effectively preventing consideration by the full Senate. This step was taken by Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) in 2006, blocking the appointment of U.S. Ambassador to Armenia nominee Richard Hoagland, who had denied the Armenian Genocide during his Senate confirmation process.

Bryza’s incomplete and evasive responses to extensive questioning by Senate Foreign Relations Committee members Boxer, Menendez and Jean Shaheen (D-NH) during his July 22nd confirmation hearing, and to subsequent written questions by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), and Senators Boxer, Menendez, and Russ Feingold (D-WI), led Senator Boxer to ask for a delay in the consideration of his nomination on August 3rd. Her action provided Senators a meaningful opportunity time to review his candidacy during the August recess. Additional responses submitted to Senators during the August Congressional recess were equally evasive.

The ANCA has published a detailed 9-page review of the shortcomings of the Bryza nomination here.

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22 Comments

  1. Armanen said:

    Now are some of you beginning to realize how idiotic it is when so called experts, especially Armenians, claim that Armenia should side closer with the U.S.? Face it people, other than the support Armenians get among members of Congress, the executive branch and all of its corrosponding departments are not pro-Armenia at all. In fact, a very good case could be made that their actions are quite anti-Armenian in certain cases.

    Afterall, what does a landlocked, and resourceless country with a small population have to offer?

    • manooshag said:

      Landlocked/resourceless country has leadership which is inept, incapable.
      USA State Department too, has persons in government, inept, incapable… Bryza!
      Manooshag

  2. Osik said:

    It was too immature and even childish to think US will say no to Azerbaijan and take sides with Armenia, Give away the Caspian Oil & Gas and get what instead?
    Are you serious? Extending Russian “Defense” contract virtually forever and signing big contracts with Iran and still hopping to succeed?
    We must be kidding ourselves……..
    Hm………. But thinking twice it isn’t that bad, What if Congress rejects this nomination and then Azerbaijan take its Caspian resources and hop back into the Polar Bear’s lap and try to trade it with Artsakh?
    How about that?

    • Armanen said:

      If Russia wanted to give Artsakh to azerbaijan it would have already occured.

      The fact of the matter is, Moscow is not about to sell Artsakh or Armenia or anything else in the Caucasus for that matter. As a matter of fact, Moscow is still not done reversing the political setbacks it suffered during the 1990s. It is well known that the south Caucasus is one of Russia’s three most vital geostrategic areas of concern. Accordingly, no self-respecting Russian leadership will tolerate a non-Russian presence in the area, let alone a Turkic-Islamic one.

      This ain’t your father’s Bolsheviks. Armenians that bring up the evils of Bolshevism to discredit Russians today are either intellectual midgets or doing the dirty work for foreign agents.

      Several months ago former national security adviser Ashot Manucharyan stated what I and others have been saying since the fall of 2008 – Russia is attempting to drive a wedge between Turkey/Azerbaijan and the West by approaching Turks with lucrative business deals and by enticing them to sit at the negotiation table with a Moscow backed Yerevan. As a result of a series of Western set-backs across the region, Moscow is continuing its relentless geopolitical campaign to either regain its influence/control over areas of interests or to simply pacify/neutralize areas of concern that pose potential problems for them. This is what we are currently seeing Moscow do in places like Armenia, Belarus, Kyrgyzstan, Azerbaijan, Ukraine, Poland, Georgia and Turkey. Nevertheless, geopolitically speaking, it is in Yerevan’s long-term interest for regional Turks to be dependent on Russia.

      Despite warming of relations between Ankara/Baku and Moscow, despite the tens of billions of dollars that flow between them, Yerevan will continue playing a pivotal role for Moscow in the south Caucasus as Russia’s only reliable platform. After all, Armenia is Moscow’s only insurance policy in the Caucasus. In my opinion, as long as Turkish, Islamic and Western threats exist in the Caucasus region, Armenia will continue to be an important strategic partner for policy makers in the Kremlin. However, in order for Armenia to progress socioeconomically, the Caucasus region will need a lasting peace. As long as American, Russian, European, Turkish and Iranian interests compete in the Caucasus, Armenia will remain poor, isolated and endangered. Thus, there needs to be one victor, one master in the region. Needles to say, that victorious master has to be the Russian Federation.

  3. sebouh from australia said:

    Dirty…corrupt …immoral pieces of garbage….that sums up the US of A

  4. Masis said:

    It’s too bad that we lost this one but there is one small victory for us. Bryza is a total idiot–he hasn’t done one thing in his life that has amounted to anything. Even if he tries to help Azerbaijan, he won’t be able to. Noone takes him seriously, except maybe the Obama administration. The stupidity competition is going to be a tight match between Aliyev and him. Despite all their oil, I think they’ll eventually run their county to the ground.

    • manooshag said:

      Bryza, lacking in any of the finesse/intelligence that his position requires… one wonders how the USA State Department chooses, selects, hires personnel who shall represent the United States of America in its dealings with other nations, honestly, before the world. OR, too, is the USA State Department incapable, lately, of attracting to its department the more intelligent, patriotic, and dedicated American applicants since such individuals now find that employment in the USA State Department has not been honest/clearer (American style) in their policies with nations that shall never have been under the protectorate of the USA State Department hoping that these nations which the USA State Department upholds shall one day, someday, eventually, become amongst and then to join the civilized nations of the world… maybe!
      Manooshag

  5. Stepan said:

    At a minimum this is a message to Bryza and his supporters. It may have some effect ehen he takes his post as he know how adept and informed the Armenians are. Let’s make sure we show our appreciation to Sen. Boxer in her reelection bid. I read an article this morning that her campaign against Carly Fiorina is close. Sen. Boxer is very deserving of the significant influence of the California Armenian community.

  6. Berge Baronian said:

    Did you really expect anything different as a result when you are dealing with a President who did not keep his word on his election promise…..come on..give me a break…..

  7. Zarmair said:

    Actually it’s OK.

    Remer the line from the Godfather, I like my friends to be close but, I like to keep my enemies closer…

  8. O'dodd said:

    A politician who kept her promise! Way to go Boxer! Thank you Menedez! Check out the ANCA page as there is now a HOLD in place. Perhaps the parable of David is correct … sometimes the small can defeat the mighty with brains over brawn!

  9. Armen Toopouzian said:

    “We want to thank Senators Boxer and Menendez for standing up against the deeply flawed Bryza nomination” – it is good to see that they are not afraid to do the right thing. Many thanks!

  10. balah blah bloah said:

    So what put a hold on him, the World put a hold on Armenian un importants country, have you checked your financial figures lately? border line starvation in Amrmenia, full of ArMeniacs

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