WASHINGTON — Freshman New Jersey Congressman Steve Rothman (D-NJ) addressed Congressional concerns over Turkey’s continued blockade of Armenia to Secretary of State Madeleine Albright yesterday during a hearing of the House International Relations Committee–reported the Armenian National Committee of America .
During her appearance before the Committee–Secretary Albright presented testimony and fielded questions from members regarding a range of foreign policy priorities.
Rep. Rothman noted to the Secretary that while many regard Turkey as a "strategically important ally to the US and the West," the fact remains that "they are blockading Armenia and taking a position against Nagorno-Karabakh." He asked the Secretary to explain how she saw the "situation in Turkey changing with regards to Cyprus–and Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh."
Secretary Albright responded by noting "the importance of Turkey to us as a strategic ally," but added that "issues of Nagorno-Karabakh and Armenia are also examples of the importance of how Turkey deals with neighbors-issues that we will be looking at very closely."
"We would like to thank Congressman Rothman for raising the issue of Turkey’s blockade of Armenia with Secretary Albright during her first appearance before the International Relations Committee," said ANCA Government Affairs Director Chris Hekimian. "His principled stand on this matter clearly impressed upon the Secretary the depth of Congressional opposition to Turkey’s continued obstruction of US humanitarian supplies to Armenia. We also appreciate Congressman Rothman’s expression of concern to Secretary Albright regarding the negative implications of the Turkish government’s unwarranted and prejudicial interference in support of the Azeri position in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict."
Other members of the International Relations Committee–including Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Calif.)–submitted questions in writing to the Secretary regarding the enforcement of the Humanitarian AID Corridor Act.