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.