Today's Zaman , Turkey
July 17 2010

Senate committee to hear US envoy to Turkey nominee

The US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations will hold hearings for
the confirmation of a senior diplomat, Francis Joseph Ricciardone, as
ambassador to Turkey, next Tuesday.

During the hearings, Ricciardone, who was nominated by the US
President Barack Obama, will also speak before the committee. The
Senate Committee on Foreign Relations needs to approve the nominee to
clear the way for a full Senate vote. Once the Senate confirms
Ricciardone's nomination, only then he will become the official envoy
to Turkey.

Ricciardone currently serves as deputy ambassador at the US Embassy in
Kabul. He will replace James Jeffrey, who will be assigned to Baghdad
as US ambassador. Outgoing US Ambassador Jeffrey's confirmation
hearing will also be held on the same day, with Senator John Kerry

Meanwhile, the influential US-based Armenian lobby group, the Armenian
Assembly of America (AAA), urged the new ambassador through a
statement on Thursday to press for an end to the `nearly two-decade
blockade of Armenia' and to ensure that Turkey fulfill its
`international commitment to normalize relations with Armenia without

The AAA said the nomination came at a time when Turkey's relationship
with the US is in trouble, and the assembly expects nominee
Ricciardone will do nothing less than urge Turkey to end its `campaign
of denial' and to `come to terms with its genocidal legacy.' The AAA
also noted that it anticipates that the Senate will press nominee
Ricciardone on Turkey's human rights record, religious freedom and the
treatment of minorities.

17 July 2010, Saturday

From: A. Papazian