ANCA: Rep. Napolitano Questions Fried on News of Evans Recall

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PRESS RELEASE
March 8, 2006
Contact: Elizabeth S. Chouldjian
Tel: (202) 775-1918

REP. NAPOLITANO RAISES REPORTS OF AMB. EVANS’
RECALL WITH SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL

— Asks Assistant Secretary Dan Fried to Explain
Reports that Ambassador Evans is being Punished
for Openly Acknowledging the Armenian Genocide

WASHINGTON, DC – Congresswoman Grace Napolitano (D-CA) today
submitted a series of questions to a senior State Department
official during his testimony before the U.S. House International
Relations Committee – including a pointed question about reports
that the U.S. Ambassador to Armenia is being recalled due to his
public acknowledgment of the Armenian Genocide, reported the
Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA).

As a follow up question, addressed to Assistant Secretary of State
Dan Fried, the California Congresswoman asked for a clarification
of any restrictions placed on State Department officials concerning
the use of the word “genocide” when discussing the extermination of
1.5 million Armenians starting in 1915. She also inquired about
U.S. policy on the Turkish blockade of Armenia and the proposed
Caucasus railroad line circumventing Armenia.

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has yet to respond to an
earlier written inquiry regarding Ambassador Evans from Congressman
Adam Schiff during her February 16th testimony before the same
panel. Since that hearing, the California Courier, a respected
Armenian American newspaper, has reported that the State Department
is recalling Ambassador Evans, well before the normal end of his
three-year tenure, because of his open acknowledgment of the
Armenian Genocide during a series of presentations last year to
Armenian American community groups.

Responding to a reporter’s question at today’s State Department
briefing, spokesperson Sean McCormack said, “I’m not aware that we
have recalled anybody. . . I believe that he’s still serving as
ambassador in Armenia.”

The full text of Congresswoman Napolitano’s questions are provided
below.

#####

Questions for the Record Submitted to
The Honorable Daniel Fried, Assistance Secretary
Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs, U.S. Department of State
By Representative Grace Napolitano
House International Relations Committee

March 8, 2006

1) There are reports that U.S. Ambassador to Armenia, John Evans
is being recalled because of his speech on the Armenian Genocide.
Is there any truth behind these reports? If not, could you explain
why his term is being cut shorter than his predecessors who
normally served more than a year longer than he has?

2) Have State Department employees been directed not to use the
word “genocide” when discussing the extermination of 1.5 million
Armenians starting in 1915?

3) Contrary to U.S. and international law and standards with
regard to recipients of our foreign aid and as a further threat to
stability in the South Caucasus, Turkey refuses to end its now
thirteen-year blockade against its neighbor, Armenia. What
specific steps is the Administration taking to encourage the
Turkish government to open the last closed border of Europe?

4) Would regional security be enhanced and U.S. interests
furthered if Turkey lifted its blockade of Armenia?

5) United States policy in the South Caucasus seeks to foster
regional cooperation and economic integration and supports open
borders and transport and communication corridors. In a move that
undermines U.S. efforts to end Turkey’s blockade of Armenia, the
President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev has initiated a project to
construct a new rail line linking Turkey, Georgia, and Azerbaijan
while bypassing Armenia. The proposal is estimated to cost up to
$800 million and would take three years to complete. The aim of
this costly approach, as publicly stated by President Aliyev, is to
isolate Armenia by enhancing the ongoing Turkish and Azerbaijani
blockades and to keep the existing Turkey-Armenia-Georgia rail link
shut down. This ill-conceived project runs counter to U.S. policy,
ignores the standing Kars-Gymri route, is politically and
economically flawed and serves to destabilize the region.

a) This proposed rail link would not only undermine U.S. policy
goals for the region, but would also specifically isolate Armenia
as evidenced by President Aliyev’s recent remarks. Does the
Administration support the rail line that would bypass Armenia as
an alternative to the Kars-Gymri route?

b) Has the Administration allocated or expended any federal agency
funds or otherwise provided financial support for the intended
project?

c) What steps is the Administration taking to urge the government
of Azerbaijan to reject this counterproductive proposal?

From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress

www.anca.org

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