REP. PALLONE EXTREMELY DISAPPOINTED OVER REPORTS OF AMB. EVANS

DeFacto Agency, Armenia
March 13 2006

Co-Chairman of Congressional Armenian Caucus Demands Explanation
from the Secretary of State Congressman Frank Pallone (D-NJ),
Co-Chairman of the Armenian Issues Caucus, yesterday expressed his
extreme disappointment to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice over
reports that the U.S. Ambassador to Armenia, John Marshall Evans, is
being forced from office based upon truthful and forthright statements
last year about the Armenian Genocide.

In a March 10th letter, Rep. Pallone shared with the Secretary that
he is "outraged that the State Department is recalling Ambassador
Evans as retaliation for statements he made in recognition of the
Armenian Genocide." He added that, "it is simply wrong for the State
Department to punish Ambassador Evans for statements he made that are
factually correct. Accordingly, I am asking you for an explanation as
to why Ambassador Evans was removed from his post. This is the wrong
message to send to the world. I look forward to a timely response
from your office."

Speaking last year to an Armenian American gathering at the University
of California at Berkeley, Amb. Evans said, "I will today call it
the Armenian Genocide. I informed myself in depth about it. I think
we, the U.S. government, owe you, our fellow citizens, a more frank
and honest way of discussing this problem. Today, as someone who
has studied it. there's no doubt in my mind [as to] what happened
. . . I think it is unbecoming of us, as Americans, to play word games
here. I believe in calling things by their name." Referring to the
Armenian Genocide as "the first genocide of the 20th century," he said:
"I pledge to you, we are going to do a better job at addressing this
issue." Amb. Evans also disclosed that he had consulted with a legal
advisor at the State Department who had confirmed that the events of
1915 were "genocide by definition."

Within days after his remarks and the conclusion of a speaking tour of
Armenian American communities, Ambassador Evans was apparently forced
to issue a statement clarifying that his references to the Armenian
Genocide were his personal views and did not represent a change in
U.S. policy. He subsequently issued a correction to this statement,
replacing a reference to the Genocide with the word "tragedy."

Later last year, the American Foreign Service Association (AFSA),
in recognition of his honesty and commitment to principle, decided
to honor Ambassador Evans with the "Christian A. Herter Award,"
recognizing creative thinking and intellectual courage within the
Foreign Service. Sadly, as Washington Post staff writer Glenn Kessler
revealed on June 9th, AFSA withdrew its award following pressure from
"very serious people from the State Department."

ANCA Chairman Ken Hachikian, in a letter sent to Secretary Rice earlier
this week, wrote that, "the prospect that a U.S. envoy's posting - and
possibly his career - has been cut short due to his honest and accurate
description of a genocide is profoundly offensive to American values
and U.S. standing abroad - particularly in light of President Bush's
call for moral clarity in the conduct of our international affairs."

The ANCA letter also urged Secretary Rice to respond in a timely manner
to the series of written questions on this matter submitted on February
16th by Congressman Adam Schiff during her testimony before the House
International Relations Committee. Among these questions was a specific
request that the Secretary assure the Committee that the Department
of State has not taken - and will not take - any punitive action
against Ambassador Evans for speaking out about the Armenian Genocide.