YEREVAN–The US co-chair of the OSCE Minsk Group Matthew Bryza told the Haykakan Zhamanak newspaper Wednesday that US Ambassador-designate to Armenia Richard Hoagland will assume his post in some two weeks–immediately after his formal confirmation by the US Senate.
The Senate Foreign Relations Committee–however–held delayed Hoagland’s confirmation following a controversial and often heated hearing process last week when he failed to provide satisfactory answers to inquiries from key committee members on US policy on the Armenian Genocide and the dismissal of the current US Ambassador to Armenia John Evans–who characterized the events of 1915 as "a Genocide."
Both Houses of Congress are on their annual July 4 recess and will returned to Washington next week. When the Senate committee hearing resume–Hoagland faces a new set of questions submitted late last week regarding the aforementioned issues.
Late last month–in his capacity as co-chairman of the OSCE Minsk Group–Bryza leaked confidential principles of a peace plan–sending the diplomatic community in a furor over the disclosure of sensitive information regarding the Nagorno-Karabakh peace process. .
"Hoagland is a very attentive person and he is perfectly aware of the history of the Caucasus. As for incumbent Ambassador Evans–he is an excellent personality and Ambassador. It’s not true to sat that he is recalled and even removed from diplomatic service," Bryza said.
"Ambassadors serve the President and they are obliged to follow his policy. President Bush’s policy as it regards the mass killings of Armenia’s is precise and he mentions it in his annual statement. Certainly if somebody doesn’t agree with the president’s policy–he can take his own decisions–however they should not be announced publicly. We all serve the President and our job is to contribute to his policy. We should also give him advice but when matter concerns public statemen’s we should support the President’s policy," Bryza said.
Evans’ recall is said to be caused by his statement on the Armenian Genocide. On February 19–2005–during his public presentation at the University of California–Berkeley–hosted by Armenian Studies Program Executive Director–Prof. Stephan Astourian–Evans announced–"I will today call it the Armenian Genocide." The Ambassador–who has studied Russian History at Yale and Columbia universities and Ottoman History at the Keenan Institute–argued that–"we–the US government–owe you–our fellow citizens a more frank and honest way of discussing this problem. Today–as someone who’s studied it… There’s no doubt in my mind what happened."