RICE ADDRESSED TO REVISE DECISION TO RECALL U.S. AMBASSADOR TO ARMENIA
June 27 2007
Four leaders of Congressional Armenian lobby George Radanovich (R-CA),
Adam Schiff (D-CA), Frank Pallone (D-NJ) and Joe Knollenberg (R-MI)
have strongly recommended to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to
reconsider the recall of U.S. Ambassador to Armenia Evans, Armenian
National Committee of America (ANCA) reported.
In a June 22nd letter, the legislators noted that "after months of
speculation," the recall of Ambassador Evans "was confirmed when the
President nominated Richard Hoagland to serve as the new United States
Ambassador to the Republic of Armenia on May 23. While there has been
no official acknowledgement that Ambassador Evans removal was a result
of his February 2005 statement that the Armenian Genocide was the first
genocide of the 20th Century, all evidence points to that conclusion."
"We join with Armenian Americans across the country in thanking
Congressman Radanovich, Schiff, Pallone, and Knollenberg – the four
leading authors of the Armenian Genocide Resolution, for once again
taking the lead in challenging the State Department’s failed policy
of complicity in Turkey’s denial of this crime against all humanity,"
said Aram Hamparian, Executive Director of the ANCA.
The Congressmen urged in their letter that "the United States must
formally recognize the Armenian Genocide, and we will continue to work
towards that goal. Allowing John Evans to continue as Ambassador to
Armenia sends a strong message on the necessity of Turkish recognition,
and will be an important step in establishing the U.S. position on
the Armenian Genocide."
The State Department, with the blessing of the White House, fired
Ambassador Evans in response to his February 2005 statements in which
he properly characterized the Armenian massacres in the beginning
of the 20th century as "genocide." Later Ambassador Evans was 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." The
American Foreign Service Association, which had decided to honor
Ambassador Evans with the "Christian A. Herter Award," recognizing
creative thinking and intellectual courage within the Foreign Service,
reportedly rescinded the award following pressure from the State
Department prior to Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s
visit to Washington, DC to meet with President George Bush.