Obama Nominates John Heffern for Armenia Ambassadorship

John Heffern

WASHINGTON—President Barack Obama nominated John A. Heffern, for the post of US Ambassador to Armenia, the White House announced Wednesday.

Heffern is a career member of the Senior Foreign Service and currently serves as the Deputy Chief of Mission at USNATO, Brussels. Prior to his current post, Heffern served as Deputy Chief of Mission and Executive Assistant to the Undersecretary for Political Affairs at the U.S. Embassy in Indonesia.

Heffern’s career has also included overseas assignments to Japan, Malaysia, Ivory Coast and Guangzhou, China. From 1994-1996, Heffern served as a Pearson Fellow on the Asia Sub-Committee for the House International Relations Committee. Prior to entering the Foreign Service, Heffern served in the Office of Senator John C. Danforth as the Senator’s Office Director and Research Assistant. Heffern received a B.A. from Michigan State University.

“We look forward to a thorough confirmation process that will explore whether Mr. Heffern is prepared to serve as a principled voice for truth and justice about the Armenian Genocide, and a powerful voice for a mutually-beneficial U.S.-Armenia relationship that both builds upon the work of the Armenian American community and reinforces the enduring bonds between the American and Armenian peoples,” said Aram Hamparian, Executive Director of the Armenian National Committee of America.

“A key test will, of course, be whether Mr. Heffern will resort to word games and rhetorical gymnastics to avoid the very recognition of the Armenian Genocide that President Obama clearly and repeatedly promised as a candidate for the White House. As a Senator, Barack Obama spoke directly to this point in a letter to then-Secretary of State Rice raising concerns about the recall of Ambassador Evans, in which, after stating that the Armenian Genocide is a widely documented fact supported by an overwhelming body of historical evidence, he informed her that ‘an official policy that calls on diplomats to distort the historical facts is an untenable policy.'”

If approved by the Senate, Heffern will replace current Ambassador to Armenia Marie Yovanovitch who announced that she wouldl leave Armenia in June after her tour of duty concludes.

Yovanovitch is expected to return to Washington where she will become US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Northern and Central Europe.


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  1. Zareh said:

    Just wondering if Mr. Hamparian can explain what exactly is the Armenian community of the US is expecting from the new nominee? It is obviously out of question that the future ambassador would talk about the Armenian genocide as such when his boss is refusing to do so.

    Would it be premature if we expect Mr. Heffern to say something like he knows the history and has his own personal views of the truth of Meds Yeghern…and that he stands firm on what happened and he will not change his views?????

    Or, during the Senate confirmation he should be asked point blank ” Do you, Mr. Haffern, agree with US President Ronald Reagan’s views on the factuality of the Armenian Genocide?”

    Why was this question not asked until now by the sitting Senators in this committee is puzzling to me.

    • Seervart said:

      Very good point Zareh, I mean about your last point in question; “Do you, Mr. Haffern, agree with US President Ronald Reagan’s views and the veracity of the Armenian Genocide?”

      Good point!!!!!

  2. Robert R. said:

    Looks like the Turkish and then the Turkic caucuses and senators will have to question Mr. Heffren a little more than usual. I believe that, if worse comes to worse, we’ll pull a “Menendez & Boxer” Senate hold on him!

  3. Berge Jololian said:

    He can wait …. Armenia is not in a hurry for another hostile-US-State-Department envoy.

    Sarkisian should make it a point and insist that the next US ambassador acknowledges the Armenian Genocide and demonstrates it with a US State Visit accompanied with Sarkisian to the genocide memorial in Yerevan.

    It is not that hard. Armenia can show some teeth. What is the US-State-Department going to do about it? What?, be more hostile than they already are now? They can go to deir-zor if they don’t like it.
    No restorative Justice to Armenia = No energy pipelines to Europe.

  4. Garo Avedis said:

    Does Obama nominates someone unknown with a hidden agenda? per Armenian assembly,he worked with a congressman who was anti-Armenian,so what is Obama is up to now?

  5. MK said:

    Another Turkophile will be an Ambassador in the Caucuses like M.Bryza,nothing good is expecting out of this neocons for Armenia and Artsakh.

  6. Avetis said:

    Armenian-Americans need to wake up and realize that Washington = enemy of Armenia.

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