MENENDEZ, BOXER ASK KERRY QUESTIONS ON ARMENIAN-AMERICAN CONCERNS

http://asbarez.com/108025/menendez-boxer-ask-kerry-questions-on-armenian-american-concerns/
Thursday, January 31st, 2013


Secretary of State-designate John Kerry

WASHINGTON-Senate Foreign Relations Committee members Robert
Menendez (D-NJ) and Barbara Boxer (D-CA) questioned Secretary of
State-designate John Kerry on a range of Armenian American concerns
- from U.S. affirmation of the Armenian Genocide to our nation's
efforts to address ongoing Azerbaijani threats against Armenia and
Nagorno Karabakh - during the confirmation process for President
Obama's nominee for this top diplomatic post, reported the Armenian
National Committee of America.

"We would like, first and foremost, to thank Senators Menendez and
Boxer for raising Armenian issues with Secretary-designate Kerry
during his confirmation hearing, and also to welcome Secretary Kerry
to our nation's top diplomatic posting," said ANCA Executive
Director Aram Hamparian.

[menendez_confirmation-300x261.jpg]

Sen. Robert Menendez

"These responses by Senator Kerry, who, brings to this position a
record of more than 30 years as a legislator as a champion of
Armenian Genocide recognition, sadly reflect President Obama's own
public retreat, under pressure from Ankara, from his principled stand
in support of a full and forthright American condemnation of
Turkey's still unpunished crime against all of humanity."

Commenting on Senator Kerry's reference to the failed Turkey-Armenia
Protocols as a means of normalizing relations between the two
countries, Hamparian stated, "The Obama Administration, by hiding
behind the Turkey-Armenia Protocols in order to avoid angering Ankara
by honestly condemning the Armenian Genocide, does a grave disservice
to all past victims of genocide, and sends a dangerous message to all
those who would, in the future, commit such crimes in the knowledge
that with sufficient political leverage they can act with impunity
and enforce a gag-rule upon the world's condemnation of their
actions."

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Sen. Barbara Boxer

Hamparian noted the ongoing ANCA efforts to work with Obama
Administration to advance a broad range of Armenian concerns. "We
look forward, in the coming weeks and months, to working
constructively with Secretary Kerry in support of a truthful and just
policy on the Armenian Genocide, as well as efforts to ensure the
right to self-determination of the people of Karabakh and a strong
U.S.-Armenia relationship."

Prior to the January 24th confirmation hearing, ANCA activists
contacted Senators on the Foreign Relations Committee urging a them
to seek clarity from Senator Kerry on a number of community issues.

Senator Kerry was approved by a vote of 94 to 3 to serve Secretary of
State. He will begin serving in that capacity starting on Friday,
February 1st.

Below are the complete written questions regarding Armenian American
concerns submitted by Senators Menendez and Boxer, followed by
Senator Kerry's responses.

Questions for the Record Submitted to
Secretary-Designate John Kerry by
Senator Robert Menendez
Committee on Foreign Relations
January 24, 2013

Question:

The U.S. State Department chronicled the effort to exterminate
Armenians in the early 1900s - The Honorable Henry Morgenthau, U.S.

Ambassador to Turkey from 1913-16 wrote in July 16, 1915, telegram to
the Secretary of State, "Deportation of and excesses against
peaceful Armenians is increasing and from harrowing reports of eye
witnesses it appears that a campaign of race extermination is in
progress under a pretext of reprisal against rebellion." The U.S.

Consul in Aleppo, Jesse Jackson, reported to Ambassador Morgenthau on
June 5, 1915, "It is without doubt a carefully planned scheme to
thoroughly extinguish the Armenian race." The U.S. Consul in Harput,
Leslie Davis reported to Ambassador Morgenthau on July 24, 1915, "It
has been no secret that the plan was to destroy the Armenian race as
a race, but the methods used have been more cold-blooded and
barbarous, if not more effective, than I had at first supposed."

Ambassador Morgenthau was succeeded by the Honorable Abram I. Elkus,
who served as Ambassador from 1916-17. On October 17, 1916, Elkus
telegrammed the Secretary of State about the extreme measures
sanctioned by the Turks, stating "In order to avoid opprobrium of
the civilized world, which the continuation of massacres [of the
Armenians] would arouse, Turkish officials have now adopted and are
executing the unchecked policy of extermination through starvation,
exhaustion, and brutality of treatment hardly surpassed even in
Turkish history." How does the Department refer to the events that
occurred during this time period?

Answer:
The U.S. government clearly acknowledges and mourns as historical
fact that 1.5 million Armenians were massacred or marched to their
deaths in the final days of the Ottoman Empire. These events
resulted in one of the worst atrocities of the 20th century, and the
United States recognizes that they remain a great source of pain for
the people of Armenia and of Armenian descent as they do for all of
us who share basic universal values. The President honors the
victims every April 24th on Remembrance Day, so that we never forget
this dark chapter in history.

Question:
The State Department has concluded, wrongly I think, to not recognize
the Armenian genocide despite a replete historical record. I think it
is a grave mistake to not recognize atrocities, historical facts for
political reasons however compelling - I think it sends the wrong
message to perpetrators and obfuscates the "never again" policy. As
a member of the Senate you supported legislation recognizing the
Armenian genocide and the deaths of 1.5 million Armenians who were
brutally massacred or marched to their deaths in the waning days of
the Ottoman Empire.

Will you share your views and record on this matter with members of
the Department and the Administration?

Answer:
If confirmed as Secretary of State, my duty would be to represent the
policies of the President and Administration faithfully. As the
President has emphasized in his April 24th Remembrance Day
statements, the achievement of a full, frank, and just
acknowledgement of the facts of what occurred in 1915 is in all our
interests. He also has said that the best way to advance that goal
is for the Armenian and Turkish people to address the facts of the
past as a part of their efforts to move forward. The United States
is encouraging Turkey at the highest levels to engage productively
with Armenia on the normalization protocols, to open the border, to
reinstitute transportation, communication, and utility links between
the two countries, and to re-establish diplomatic relations. If
confirmed, I will continue to strongly support all efforts to
normalize bilateral relations between Armenia and Turkey so that
together, they can forge a relationship that is peaceful, productive,
and prosperous.

Question:
As a matter of policy, the United States has been a strong proponent
for the normalization of relations between Armenia and Turkey, and as
such actively supported the Protocols between Armenia and Turkey,
which were signed in October of 2009. The Protocols between Armenia
and Turkey provided a road map to normalization of relations.

However, despite its public commitments, Turkey not only failed to
ratify them, but also sought to add conditions not in the Protocols,
such as resolving the Nagorno-Karabakh issue. This coupled with
Azerbaijan's counterproductive actions effectively derailed the
process. Instead of lifting its blockade, Turkey, in coordination
with Azerbaijan, continues to maintain its nearly 20-year long
blockade against Armenia. Secretary Clinton has praised Armenia for
its approach vis-a-vis normalization and has repeatedly stated that
the ball is now in Turkey's court. Lifting of the blockade is not
only the right thing to do; it is also long overdue. Please outline
the steps you will take to end Turkey's blockade of Armenia and
ensure that Turkey lives up to its international commitments with
respect to the Armenia-Turkey Protocols.

Answer:
The United States believes that full normalization of relations
between Turkey and Armenia is important not only for the future of
both countries, but for long-term stability and security in the
Caucasus. Normalization between Turkey and Armenia remains a
prominent feature of our dialogue with both countries. Secretary
Clinton and other senior officials consistently raise the protocols
with Turkish leaders at the highest levels, and if confirmed as
Secretary, I will ensure that the State Department continues to do
so.

Questions for the Record Submitted to
Secretary-Designate John Kerry by
Senator Barbara Boxer
Committee on Foreign Relations

Question:
If confirmed, what steps can the U.S. take to put pressure on
President Aliyev to reconsider his decision and return Mr. Safarov to
jail?

Answer:
Immediately after learning of Azerbaijani President Aliyev's pardon
of Ramil Safarov, the United States raised its concerns directly with
the highest levels of the government of Azerbaijan. In addition,
both the White House and the State Department released strong
statements of concern over Mr. Safarov's transfer and subsequent
pardon. Mr. Safarov was tried and convicted of a brutal murder, and
the United States was extremely troubled to learn that he would not
serve the remainder of his sentence.

As a co-chair of the OSCE Minsk Group, the United States continues
working to help the sides reach a peaceful resolution to the
Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, and the United States condemns any action
that fuels tension in the region or threatens to damage the peace
process. If confirmed, I will continue to raise the concerns
expressed by the United States previously and do everything I can to
help the parties resolve the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict peacefully.

Question:
Azerbaijan has threatened to shoot down aircraft that fly into the
newly rebuilt airport in Nagorno-Karabakh.

How will you respond, publicly and privately, to this threat and to
any other new acts of aggression from Azerbaijan?

Answer:
The United States believes that the parties to this dispute must
resolve this dangerous situation diplomatically; the Administration
has firmly opposed any steps by any party that increase tensions in
the region or threaten to damage the peace process in the
Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. As a Co-Chair of the OSCE Minsk Group,
along with Russia and France, the United States responded swiftly
when such threats first appeared, and the Administration has
continued to raise the issue bilaterally and through the Minsk Group
Co-Chairs. If confirmed as Secretary of State, I will continue
working to support the peace process and to oppose actions that could
increase tensions in the region or damage the peace process.

Question:
If confirmed, will you or a member of your staff commit to meet with
the Armenian American community and religious leaders from a broad
cross-section of the community?

Answer:
Department officials maintain an ongoing dialogue regarding our
foreign policy with a broad cross-section of the American people,
including members of the Armenian-American community and leaders in
the religious community. This mutual exchange of information and
ideas is an important element in the work of the State Department,
and if confirmed as Secretary, I will ensure that it continues.

Question:
If confirmed, will you be an advocate within the Obama Administration
for recognition of the Armenian genocide?

Answer:
If confirmed as Secretary of State, my duty would be to represent the
policies of the President and Administration faithfully. As the
President has emphasized in his April 24 Remembrance Day statements,
the achievement of a full, frank, and just acknowledgement of the
facts of what occurred in 1915 is in all our interests. He also has
said that the best way to advance that goal is for the Armenian and
Turkish people to address the facts of the past as a part of their
efforts to move forward. The United States is encouraging Turkey at
the highest levels to engage productively with Armenia on the
normalization protocols, to open the border, to reinstitute
transportation, communication, and utility links between the two
countries, and to re-establish diplomatic relations. If confirmed, I
will continue to strongly support all efforts to normalize bilateral
relations between Armenia and Turkey so that together, they can forge
a relationship that is peaceful, productive, and prosperous.




From: A. Papazian