YEREVAN (Combined Sources)—The US Embassy in Yerevan released a statement Monday downplaying the release by WikiLeaks of a classified 2008 State Department cable in which a top Bush administration official threatened wide-ranging US retaliation against Armenia over the reported transfer of weapons to Iran.
The leaked cable, which can be read here, is one of 250,000 others released by the international whistle-blower organization on Sunday. The cable contained a harsh letter from Deputy Secretary of State Negroponte to the Armenian Government sent on the final days of the Bush administration.
The letter threatened wide-ranging US retaliation, including sanctions, if the Armenian government does not halt its alleged transfer of arms, which the State Department said resulted in Iranian proxies killing US soldiers in Iraq in 2007.
“Notwithstanding the close relationship between our countries, neither the Administration nor the U.S. Congress can overlook this case,” Negropante said in the letter, which went on to note that there would be consideration “whether there is a basis for the imposition of U.S. sanctions.”
A “background” note for U.S. diplomats in Yerevan that was attached to Negroponte’s letter contends that Armenia “facilitated” Iran’s purchase of rockets and machine guns in 2003. “In 2007, some of these weapons were recovered from two Shia militant attacks in which a United States soldier was killed and six others were injured in Iraq,” it said without specifying the precise type and origin of the weapons.”
The US Embassy in Yerevan, however, dismissed the letter as mere diplomatic chatter and not an expression of foreign policy. “Cables reflect the internal day to day analysis and candid assessments that feed the governments’ foreign relations deliberations,” the statement said. “These cables are often preliminary and incomplete expressions of foreign policy, and they should not be seen as having standing on their own or as representing U.S. policy.”
The Armenian National Committee of America similarly commented the leaked document. “What this cable, and all that has transpired since it was written in 2008, shows is that the U.S. government, having reviewed all the relevant facts, concluded that Yerevan did not merit sanctions—on assistance, on exports, or, for that matter, in any other area,” said ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparain.
The leaked documents also reveal that Turkey has aggressively used the Turkey-Armenia protocols, particularly the prospect of its ratification, to pressure American leaders against U.S. recognition of the Armenian Genocide and in favor of a pro-Azerbaijani settlement of the Nagorno-Karabagh conflict.
Below is the complete text of the US Embassy letter:
Regarding recent news reports concerning documents purportedly downloaded from U.S. Defense Department computers, the Department of State does not comment on materials, including classified documents, which may have been leaked.
Any unauthorized disclosure of classified information by Wikileaks has harmful implications for the lives of identified individuals that are jeopardized, but also for global engagement among and between nations. Given its potential impact, we condemn such unauthorized disclosures and are taking every step to prevent future security breaches.
While we cannot speak to the authenticity of any documents provided to the press, we can speak to the diplomatic community’s practice of cable writing. Cables reflect the internal day to day analysis and candid assessments that feed the governments’ foreign relations deliberations. These cables are often preliminary and incomplete expressions of foreign policy, and they should not be seen as having standing on their own or as representing U.S. policy.