LOS ANGELES—Newly-appointed Deputy Assistant Secretary of State, Tina Kaidanow, traveled to Capitol Hill Tuesday for a late afternoon emergency legislative briefing to address growing Congressional concerns regarding the controversial Turkey-Armenia protocols, sources in Washington told Asbarez.
Among the topics reportedly discussed at the closed-door gathering were Congressional sensitivity to the rapidly escalating and broad-based Armenian-American opposition to the protocols, and the increasing awareness of the intense pressure being applied upon Armenia by Turkey and its allies to approve the protocols.
The harried briefing took place less than 48 hours after a major 10,000-person rally against the protocols in Los Angeles and on the eve of President Serzh Sarkisian’s upcoming tour of Diaspora communities, which includes stops in New York and Los Angeles. It is anticipated that Sarkisian will be met with outrage over the protocols during his tour from an energetically unified cross-section of the community.
A similar concern was evident during a press briefing at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York Monday, when Assistant Secretary of State Philip Gordon was cautious to address the Turkey-Armenia protocols.
In response to a reporter’s question whether the State Department was “afraid it’s [the process] was going to slide” before the six-week deadline set by the protocols, Gordon conceded that there were bumps in the road.
“Look, this is a difficult process that faces some political opposition in both places, and it’s hard for both governments. If it wasn’t hard, they would have normalized relations a long time ago. And so when we say reasonable timeframe, we mean just that: that it’s not just the process that we want to see – we welcome the process; but we also want to see a conclusion to the process, and that’s what we’re underscoring when we say that,” said Gordon.
In reporting on Secretary of State Hillary Clinton urging Turkey and Armenia to carry out plans to normalize relations, Reuters observed that her comments appeared to reflect uncertainty about whether the countries will stick to their plan to sign the pact restoring diplomatic ties and reopening their border by mid-October.