WASHINGTON–Senate Foreign Relations Committee members George Allen (R-Va.) and Norm Coleman (R-Minn.) bombarded U.S. Ambassador to Armenia Designate Richard Hoagland with questions about official U.S. complicity in Turkey’s campaign of Genocide denial–questioning him–during his confirmation hearing Wednesday–regarding his ability to effectively represent the United States in Armenia without properly recognizing the Armenian Genocide–reported the Armenian National Committee of America.
In the days leading up to today’s hearing–the Committee’s Ranking Democrat–Joseph Biden (D-Del.)–in a strongly worded letter–demanded that the Secretary of State answers questions concerning the recall of the current U.S. Ambassador to Armenia John Evans–before he could support the confirmation of his replacement.
At the hearing–Senator Paul Sarbanes (D-Md.)–joined with Senators Coleman and Allen in sharply criticizing the Administration’s refusal to speak truthfully on the Armenian Genocide. Senator Boxer–who was unable to attend the hearing–submitted written questions to Amb. Hoagland.
The hearing was marked by repeated calls upon Amb. Hoagland to clarify the State Department’s policy on the Armenian Genocide. If approved–he will replace the current U.S. Ambassador to Armenia–John Marshall Evans–who–amid great controversy–has been recalled over his truthful description of the Armenian Genocide in February of 2005.
"We appreciate the leadership of Senators Allen–Coleman and Sarbanes in pressing hard for a detailed explanation of the U.S. policy on the Armenian Genocide – and commend Senator Biden for his principled demand that the Senate receive clear answers on this issue from the State Department before moving ahead with the nomination of a new envoy to Yerevan," said ANCA Chairman Ken Hachikian. "We were deeply disappointed that–in response to these legitimate inquiries–Ambassador-designate Hoagland – apparently at the direction of his superiors in the State Department – limited his responses to a series of unresponsive evasions and euphemisms intended to obscure – not explain – the U.S. policy on the Armenian Genocide."
"We have said from the start–and believe even more firmly today–that the U.S. Senate cannot–in good conscience–approve the nomination of a new ambassador to Armenia until the circumstances of the current envoy’s controversial firing – including a thorough description of the U.S. policy on the Armenian Genocide–are fully–officially and openly explained to Congress and the American people," said Hachikian.