WASHINGTON–U.S. Ambassador to Armenia Marie Yovanovitch was officially sworn in at a September 2nd State Department ceremony during which the new Ambassador stressed her commitment to stronger U.S.-Armenia relations and working to ensure peace and stability in the Caucasus, reported the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA).
The Senate approved the Yovanovitch nomination, last month, following extensive questioning led by Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Joe Biden (D-DE), Bob Menendez (D-NJ) and Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and several requests for clarification of the State Department’s position on the Armenian Genocide.
Facing strong pressure and the prospect of a Senate "hold," Matthew Reynolds, Acting Assistant Secretary of State for Legislative Affairs, wrote to Chairman Biden to formally affirm that: "the Administration recognizes that the mass killings, ethnic cleansing, and forced deportations of over one and a half million Armenia’s were conducted by the Ottoman Empire."
Commenting on the State Department’s letter, ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian had noted that "although clearly falling short of America’s moral responsibility and national interest in recognizing and condemning the Armenian Genocide, [the letter] did mark a step in the direction of distancing U.S. policy from the dictates of the Turkish government. While we, of course, remain troubled by the President’s refusal to properly characterize the Armenian Genocide–as reflected in Ambassador Yovanovitch’s responses–we were gratified to see that, as a result of pressure from Senators Biden, Boxer, and Menendez, the Department of State has retreated from its most offensive and factually unsupportable assertions calling into question the historical fact of Ottoman Turkey’s destruction of its Armenian population."
Following Senate approval of Amb. Yovanovitch’s nomination, ANCA Chairman Ken Hachikian, Executive Director Aram Hamparian, and Government Affairs Director Kate Nahapetian met with Amb. Yovanovitch at the ANCA national headquarters in Washington, DC to discuss a broad range of U.S.-Armenia policy concerns.
President Bush’s previous nominee as U.S. Ambassador to Armenia, Richard Hoagland, was subject to two legislative holds by Sen. Menendez and was ultimately withdrawn by the Administration, following the nominee’s statemen’s denying the Armenian Genocide. The ANCA led the Armenian American community campaign opposing Hoagland’s nomination, stating that a genocide denier could not serve as a credible and effective U.S. spokesperson in Armenia.
The last U.S. Ambassador to Armenia, John Marshall Evans, was fired by the State Department for properly characterizing the Armenian Genocide as genocide.
Video from Ambassador Yovanovitch’s swearing in ceremony is posted on the ANCA YouTube Channel:
The complete text of the State Department letter: