White House Bows To Senate Pressure On Naming Envoy To Armenia


The Associated Press
Published: August 3, 2007

WASHINGTON: The White House gave in to Democratic objections and on
Friday withdrew the nomination of a career diplomat to be ambassador
to Armenia.

Sen. Robert Menendez placed a hold on the nomination of Richard
Hoagland for the second time in January because of Hoagland’s refusal
to call the World War I-era killings of Armenians a genocide.

A hold is a parliamentary privilege accorded to senators that prevents
a nomination from going forward to a confirmation hearing.

Hoagland’s confirmation was blocked by Senate Democrats in the last
Congress and the Bush administration resubmitted his name in January
when the new Congress convened.

Hoagland’s predecessor, John Evans, reportedly had his tour of duty
in Armenia cut short because, in a social setting, he referred to
the killings as genocide.

Today in Americas As presidential campaign gets going in Guatemala,
the body count mountsBush pushes Congress on surveillance lawStructure
in 10% of U.S. bridges is deemed faultyIn urging the administration
to submit another candidate, Menendez said that "the State Department
and the Bush administration are just flat-out wrong in their refusal
to recognize the Armenian genocide. It is well past time to drop the
euphemisms, the wink-wink, nod-nod brand of diplomacy that overlooks
heinous atrocities around the world."

The administration has warned that even a congressional debate on
the genocide question could damage relations with Turkey, a moderate
Muslim nation that is a NATO member and an important strategic ally.

Turkey has adamantly denied claims by scholars that is predecessor
Ottoman state killed Armenians in a planned genocide.