Responses to Sen. Menendez inquiries disappoint as Senate panel gears up for consideration of his controversial nomination
WASHINGTON—US Ambassador to Azerbaijan nominee Matthew Bryza, yet again, submitted evasive responses to Senate inquiries – this time to a series of questions submitted by Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) regarding the destruction of the Armenian cemetery at Djulfa, as well as Bryza’s opposition to both Armenian Genocide legislation and Karabakh’s participation in the OSCE Minsk group mediation process, reported the Armenian National Committee of America.
This is the second set of responses to Senate inquiry made public this week, as the Senate Foreign Relations Committee gets set to take up his nomination during their Business Meeting scheduled for Tuesday, September 21st.
In response to Sen. Menendez’ concerns about Bryza’s three month delay in condemning the desecration of the 1,300 year old Armenian cemetery in Djulfa, the nominee simply reiterated that he had made a “public condemnation” on March 7, 2006, with no further insight on follow up efforts with the Azerbaijani Government, in response to this video-taped cultural destruction. He went on, however, to pledge that, “if confirmed, I will work actively through private negotiations, public statements, and site visits to press for the protection and preservation of Armenian religious and cultural sites in Azerbaijan.” He also noted that his efforts, as Deputy Assistant Secretary and Minsk Group Co-Chair, “with Georgia’s top officials on protection and restitution of Armenian Church properties in Tbilisi.” A search of public records does not reveal any statements by Bryza on that topic.
Bryza evaded a question by Sen. Menendez about a 2007 statement given to the Associated Press that argued that “a Congressional resolution [on the Armenian Genocide] would be a tremendous blow to our bilateral relationship.” Sen. Menendez asked: “Can you explain why a U.S. resolution would recognizing the genocide in Armenia would harm our relationship with Turkey?” Bryza provided no insight other than a quote from Pres. Bush opposing the resolution.”
Asked if the nominee would “support reinstatement of Nagorno Karabakh as a full participant in all aspects of the [OSCE] peace process,” Bryza argued that the decision “be made by the parties of the negotiations,” essentially giving Azerbaijan a veto over Karabakh’s full participation.
“Once again, instead of providing answers, Mr. Bryza is raising more questions about his qualifications to serve as U.S. Ambassador to Azerbaijan.,” said ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian. “He is clearly the wrong person for this post. The Administration, and our nation’s policies toward Azerbaijan and the region, would be well served by a fresh start and the nomination of a new candidate to represent us in Baku.”
Sen. Menendez’s questions and Bryza’s complete responses are available on the ANCA website at: http://www.anca.org/assets/pdf/misc/Menendez_BryzaResponses2.pdf
Incomplete and evasive responses to extensive questioning by Senate Foreign Relations Committee members Boxer, Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Jean Shaheen (D-NH) during his July 22nd confirmation hearing and to subsequent written questions by Senators Boxer, Menendez, and Russ Feingold (D-WI) led Senator Boxer to ask for a delay in the consideration of Bryza’s nomination, giving Senators a meaningful opportunity time to review his candidacy during the August recess.
A review of the ANCA’s detailed 9-page review of the shortcomings of the Bryza nomination can be found at: http://www.anca.org/assets/pdf/misc/BryzaNomination.pdf
Sen. Boxer’s questions and Bryza’s complete responses are available on the ANCA website at: http://www.anca.org/assets/pdf/misc/Boxer_BryzaResponses2.pdf