State Debate: Armenia, Neighbors Ponder Kerry’s Nomination

By Gayane Abrahamyan

Society | 24.12.12 | 15:46

The nomination of John Kerry, chairman of the US Senate Foreign
Relations Committee, as the Secretary of State has stirred
discussion in the South Caucasus. Azeri political analysts predict
that the assumption of such a high post by the senator known for
his pro-Armenian activities would increase “anti-Azeri” sentiments,
while in Armenia hopes aren’t high for such developments.

On December 21, president Barrack Obama nominated Senator Kerry for
the country’s top diplomatic post, stressing that the Vietnam war
veteran and presidential candidate of 2004 is a “perfect choice to
guide American diplomacy.”

The 69-year-old senator from the State of Massachusetts with a
large Armenian community, back in the 90s co-authored the Article
907 restricting non-humanitarian US aid to Azerbaijan “for as long
as it keeps Armenia in a blockade”.

Kerry actively supported the Armenian Genocide recognition bill, with
periodical statements that Turkey has to face its historic mistakes.

On September 5, Kerry said in reference to Azeri murderer Ramil
Safarov’s pardon and release, that he was “shocked and appalled” and
that “this needlessly provocative act endangers the fragile peace
between these countries and damages the government of Azerbaijan’s

The Armenian Cause office welcomed Kerry’s possible appointment,
stressing that the senator has “supported the Armenian community of
America for around three decades in the matters of the US foreign

Turkey has welcomed Kerry’s candidacy despite his role of an Armenian
Genocide recognition advocate. Turkish Zaman reports that foreign
minister Ahmed Davutoglu has sent a congratulatory letter. The
newspaper explains that Turkey would consider it most unfortunate if
the other candidate – U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice had been confirmed.

(The ambassador withdrew her nomination under harsh scrutiny by
the Senate.)

Neighbouring Azerbaijan has started pessimistic predictions, as newspaper reports, that “if Kerry becomes Secretary of
State, Azerbaijan would have to resist also America’s pressure in
the negotiation process over the Karabakh conflict”. cited Azeri political analyst Rizvan Huseynov, who said that
“Kerry’s activities will lead to an enhanced Russian factor in the
Karabakh issue”, because “the United States would want to ‘trade’
with Russia and in exchange for concessions in the South Caucasian
issues get support with Iran and Syria”.

Political analyst Rovshan Ibragimov has concerns that “personal
fondness of such an elite, top political figure might have an influence
on the country’s foreign policy”.

Giro Manoyan, heading the Armenian Revolutionary Federation Bureau’s
Armenian Cause Office, also believes that Kerry’s “purely personal
attitude towards Armenians might have a certain impact on politics”.

However, Caucasus Institute director Sergey Minasyan believes that
Kerry’s nomination “will not be crucial”, because “after assuming
such a post personal preferences are usually sidelined”.

“At first sight it’s a desirable for us nomination, however any
high-ranking official follows the policy outlined by his/her country
administration. True, a favorable for Armenia atmosphere might be
formed, and the Azeri leadership might experience a certain sense
of restriction, but it can’t play a crucial role,” Minasyan told

Should Kerry’s appointment as Secretary of State be confirmed, the
Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman’s position would likely
be given to another pro-Armenian senator, Robert Menendez.

From: Baghdasarian