WikiLeaks: US Embassy Downplays Leaked Bush-Era Threat to Sanction Armenia

YEREVAN (Combined Sources)—The US Embassy in Yerevan released a statement Monday downplaying the release by WikiLeaks of a classified 2008 State Department cable in which a top Bush administration official threatened wide-ranging US retaliation against Armenia over the reported transfer of weapons to Iran.

The leaked cable, which can be read here, is one of 250,000 others released by the international whistle-blower organization on Sunday. The cable contained a harsh letter from Deputy Secretary of State Negroponte to the Armenian Government sent on the final days of the Bush administration.

The letter threatened wide-ranging US retaliation, including sanctions, if the Armenian government does not halt its alleged transfer of arms, which the State Department said resulted in Iranian proxies killing US soldiers in Iraq in 2007.

“Notwithstanding the close relationship between our countries, neither the Administration nor the U.S. Congress can overlook this case,” Negropante said in the letter, which went on to note that there would be consideration “whether there is a basis for the imposition of U.S. sanctions.”

A “background” note for U.S. diplomats in Yerevan that was attached to Negroponte’s letter contends that Armenia “facilitated” Iran’s purchase of rockets and machine guns in 2003. “In 2007, some of these weapons were recovered from two Shia militant attacks in which a United States soldier was killed and six others were injured in Iraq,” it said without specifying the precise type and origin of the weapons.”

The US Embassy in Yerevan, however, dismissed the letter as mere diplomatic chatter and not an expression of foreign policy.  “Cables reflect the internal day to day analysis and candid assessments that feed the governments’ foreign relations deliberations,” the statement said. “These cables are often preliminary and incomplete expressions of foreign policy, and they should not be seen as having standing on their own or as representing U.S. policy.”

The Armenian National Committee of America similarly commented the leaked document. “What this cable, and all that has transpired since it was written in 2008, shows is that the U.S. government, having reviewed all the relevant facts, concluded that Yerevan did not merit sanctions—on assistance, on exports, or, for that matter, in any other area,” said ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparain.

The leaked documents also reveal that Turkey has aggressively used the Turkey-Armenia protocols, particularly the prospect of its ratification, to pressure American leaders against U.S. recognition of the Armenian Genocide and in favor of a pro-Azerbaijani settlement of the Nagorno-Karabagh conflict.

Below is the complete text of the US Embassy letter:

Regarding recent news reports concerning documents purportedly downloaded from U.S. Defense Department computers, the Department of State does not comment on materials, including classified documents, which may have been leaked.

Any unauthorized disclosure of classified information by Wikileaks has harmful implications for the lives of identified individuals that are jeopardized, but also for global engagement among and between nations. Given its potential impact, we condemn such unauthorized disclosures and are taking every step to prevent future security breaches.

While we cannot speak to the authenticity of any documents provided to the press, we can speak to the diplomatic community’s practice of cable writing. Cables reflect the internal day to day analysis and candid assessments that feed the governments’ foreign relations deliberations. These cables are often preliminary and incomplete expressions of foreign policy, and they should not be seen as having standing on their own or as representing U.S. policy.


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  1. facts said:

    Mr Negropante

    sahme on you and your Boss! !!!

    Allone in 2010 at least 500 NATO and US solders being killed by Afghan Talibans with weapons delivered by US and GB to Afgahn atalibans in the end of 1990´s or in the beginning of 2000!!! But

    I hope my comment will be published.. When Turkey supports terrorism and still Turkey gets all kind of weapon and support for US , how comes that Bush administration looking in the last days of its administration for ways and excuses (form 2003!) to blackmail Armenia !

    Shame on White House and US administration! If Armenian nation was strong enough and had the courage would demand the closer of US embassy in Armenia !

    White house/ Bush administration (almost out of white house) was for some reasons looking for any and any excuses and justifications for blackmailing Armenia!
    Sorry, how about American solders including the one of US solder of Armenian origin killed by weapons delivered by US to Afghan Taliban’s and Sadami´s regime ? How about destruction of Armenian and other ethnic Christians communise in Iraq as a result f attack on Iraq? How about ethnic Armenian killed in Iraq by forces hired by US ???

    Armenian government should demand an explanation about such threats and if Armenian and Armenians had respect should demand the closer of US embassy in Yerevan! sorry US has destroyed the life of century old Christina communities including the ones of Armenian community in Iraq and middle east by curing out an irresponsible and aggressive pro Turkish and pro Israeli ugly policy in middle East !

    Armenian nations out spoken enemies are Turkey, Azerbaijani Khnat and US/Israel!

  2. facts said:

    Shut down the US embassy in Armenia! Shame on US administration for blackmailing Armenia and making attempts to destroy Armenian …by ignoring the suffering of Armenian communities sin Iraq and middle east! !

  3. John said:

    I wonder how many American soildiers were killed because Turkey would not allow U.S. Troops To go through Northern Turkey into Iraq?

  4. Ara said:

    The largest arms dealer in the world is threatening to sanction an arms deal? Guess Armenia was stepping on their toes! Go ahead….sanction Armenia! See of we will not laugh, and sing again 😉