Politics 10:51 05/12/2018 World

Sen. Menendez Delays Senate Confirmation Of US Ambassador to Azerbaijan

Pres. Donald Trump nominated on Sept. 4, 2018 career Foreign Service Officer Earle Litzenberger to serve as US Ambassador to Azerbaijan replacing Amb. Robert Cekuta who left Baku nine months ago.

A month before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s October 4, 2018 hearing on Litzenberger’s confirmation, the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) issued a press release urging the Armenian American community, friends of Armenia, and human rights activists to call on their Senators to scrutinize Litzenberger’s nomination.

Aram Hamparian, Executive Director of ANCA, explained that “there’s never been a more urgent need for clarity regarding the nature and scope of American relations with the Aliyev regime. This confirmation process provides a much-needed opportunity for substantive Congressional oversight of an increasingly troubled U.S.-Azerbaijan bilateral relationship, characterized by escalating aggression against Armenians, a worsening crackdown on dissent, and a well-funded campaign to manipulate the American political process.”

Litzenberger has served as Senior Fellow at the German Marshall Fund; Deputy Chief of Mission to the United States Mission to NATO; NATO Deputy Senior Civilian Representative to Afghanistan; Deputy Chief of Mission at the United States Embassy in Belgrade, Serbia; and Deputy Chief of Mission at the United States Embassy in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. Litzenberger earned a B.A. from Middlebury College and M.S. from the United States Army War College. He speaks French, Russian, Serbian, and Bulgarian.

During the October 4, 2018 Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing, Litzenberger came under intense scrutiny. The ANCA reported that Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) referred to Azeri President Ilham Aliyev’s “bellicose rhetoric and sporadic outbursts of violence,” when pressing Litzenberger about Azerbaijan’s violent strategies. Litzenberger responded that he would urge the Azerbaijani government to step back from behaviors that would disrupt the line of contact in the Artsakh conflict. He also stated that the U.S. is working along three lines -- the non-use of force, respect for territorial integrity, and the right to self-determination.

In addition, Litzenberger referred to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Minsk Group, which condemns “any violence and any threat of the use of violence along the line of contact” without specifically citing Azerbaijan’s attacks.

During the hearing, Sen. Menendez inquired whether providing weapons to Azerbaijan should be curtailed based on its human rights violations. Litzenberger responded that the State Department will be careful to ensure its decisions do not undermine efforts to reach a peaceful settlement of the Artsakh conflict. He also mentioned an increased focus on Azerbaijani training in human rights.

Following the hearing, both Sen. Menendez and Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA) submitted written questions to Litzenberger. At the request of Sen. Menendez, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee postponed consideration of Litzenberger’s nomination to an unspecified date. Both Senators may have additional written questions to the nominee as a result of their concerns at National Security Advisor John Bolton’s offer to sell weapons to Armenia and Azerbaijan during his late October trip to the Caucasus.

Litzenberger was the only one of 19 ambassadorial nominations to be postponed, very likely until next year, when the Committee will hold its next business meeting.

ANCA’s Hamparian welcomed Litzenberger’s delay giving the Senators the “opportunity for more careful Congressional oversight of our country’s increasingly challenging bilateral ties with Azerbaijan’s aggressive and abusive Aliyev regime, particularly in light of National Security Advisor John Bolton’s controversial suggestion that the U.S. start selling arms to Baku.”

Hamparian went on to assert: “We join with our Senate friends in seeking greater clarity on this point, and, more generally, regarding the Administration’s policy on Aliyev’s worsening pattern of aggression against Artsakh and Armenia, incitement of hatred against all Armenians, unapologetic blacklisting of U.S. legislators, obstruction of the Royce-Engel peace proposals, threats to shoot down civilian aircraft, the destruction of the Djulfa cemetery and other Christian heritage sites, and – of course – his severe crackdown against domestic dissidents and ethnic-religious minorities.”

Azerbaijan’s Turan news Agency reported the news about the delay of the confirmation of the US Ambassador to Baku. Surprisingly, Turan speculated that Pres. Trump may make a recess appointment taking advantage of the absence of Senate sessions in December, which would mean that the President could appoint Litzenberger as Ambassador to Azerbaijan without Senate confirmation.

Readers may recall that Pres. Obama made such a recess appointment in the case of Matt Bryza dispatching him as Ambassador to Azerbaijan, after Sen. Menendez twice blocked his confirmation. Bryza could only serve in Baku for 12 months before being forced to return to Washington, after the Senate Foreign Relations Committee refused to confirm his nomination.

In the case of Matt Bryza, the Armenian-American community had a good reason to object to his nominations as he had a serious bias against Armenia and favored Azerbaijan and Turkey. However, Litzenberger does not seem to have such biases and there is nothing personal against him. Delaying his nomination is simply a means to ensure that he would defend human rights in Azerbaijan and would urge the Aliyev regime to be less bellicose in the Artsakh conflict. Litzenberger’s delay would also send a message to John Bolton that the Senate does not welcome his offer to sell weapons to Azerbaijan.

The delay of the Ambassador’s Senate confirmation would serve the additional aim of upsetting the Aliyev regime by prolonging the lengthy absence of a US Ambassador to Baku, causing an irritation in Azerbaijan-United States relations.

By Harut Sassounian
Publisher, The California Courier
www.TheCaliforniaCourier.com



Source Panorama.am
Share |
Տեքստում սխալ կամ վրիպակ նկատելու դեպքում, ուղարկեք խմբագրին հաղորդագրություն` նշելով տվյալ սխալը, այնուհետև սեղմելով Ctrl-Enter:

Newsfeed

17:00
Temperatures to hit 27C in parts of Armenia
Rainless weather is expected in Armenia on Saturday, the met service reports. Showers are forecast for the country’s regions on Sunday...
16:46
One killed in cable car accident in Turkey
A cable car ferrying passengers in a mountainous area of southern Turkey broke apart after colliding with part of the metal structure supporting...
16:36
Armenian government announces Kazakh leader's visit to Yerevan
Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev will travel to Armenia on an official visit on April 15. The Armenian government said in a...
16:15
Rally held in Armenian border village
A large group of public figures, politicians and clergymen on Saturday gathered in Voskepar, a border village in Armenia’s Tavush...
15:33
Transavia launches Yerevan-Lyon flights
Transavia Airlines launched flights between Yerevan and Lyon on April 13, the Armenia International Airports CJSC reported. Flights will be...
15:13
Catholicos Karekin II offers condolences to families of killed soldiers
His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians, has expressed condolences to the families of the Armenian servicemen...
14:33
Pashinyan: Armenia seeks to prevent all attempts to politicize EAEU
Armenia is seeking to stop all attempts to politicize the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU), Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan said. "We...
13:46
Five killed in Sydney mall attack
Five people were killed and several others injured -- including a small child -- when a knife-wielding attacker rampaged through a busy Sydney...
13:30
13 Armenian soldiers hospitalized after military truck crash – Defense Ministry
Armenian Defense Minister Suren Papikyan and Health Minister Anahit Avanesyan on Saturday visited the Central Clinical Military Hospital in...
13:02
Kazakh president to pay official visit to Armenia
President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev of Kazakhstan will pay a one-day official visit to Armenia on April 15. He is expected to hold talks with...
12:34
Defense Ministry reports no serious injuries after military truck crash in Gegharkunik
The Armenian Defense Ministry says no one was seriously injured in the wake of a military vehicle crash in Gegharkunik Province on Saturday....
12:00
Monument Watch exposes Azeri lies about Artsakh's ancient culture
The video "Ancient Aghdam Destroyed Nomadic Heritage", produced by the Azerbaijani CBC TV channel, contains several arbitrary...
11:32
Armenian Defense Ministry names soldiers killed in road accident
The Armenian Defense Ministry identified the servicemen killed in a road accident on Friday. Four Armenian soldiers were killed and 20...
11:15
Armenia denies false Azeri reports of shooting
The Defense Ministry of Armenia has rejected Azerbaijan's false accusations of cross-border shooting. “The statement of the...
11:00
Germany urges its citizens to leave Iran
Germany warned its citizens to leave Iran, saying that there was a risk both of a sudden escalation in Tehran's existing tensions with...
17:00
Freedom House reflects on Civil Contract's misuse of administrative resources at 2023 Yerevan elections
During the campaign for the Yerevan City Council elections in 2023, local observers and independent media observed widespread misuse of...
16:30
US trying to spread tentacles into all CIS regions, Lavrov says
All delegations attending the meeting of the CIS Council of Foreign Ministers in Minsk acknowledged that they see what the United States and its...
16:14
Economist: World Bank forecasts 5.5% economic growth for Armenia in 2024
The World Bank (WB) has released its Europe and Central Asia Economic Update, forecasting 5.5% and 4.9% economic growth for Armenia in 2024 and...
15:36
Russian city calls for a mass evacuation amid rising flood waters
Authorities in the Russian city of Orenburg called on residents to evacuate immediately on Friday due to rapidly rising flood waters after major...
15:16
Armenia's NSS urges people not to panic over hoax threats to Yerevan schools
Armenia's National Security Service (NSS) has urged people not to panic over false threats of terrorist attacks on Yerevan schools, warning...
14:36
Education minister dispels concerns over fake terror alert for Yerevan schools
Armenia’s Minister of Education, Science, Culture and Sport Zhanna Andreasyan on Friday dispelled concerns over a false alert of terrorist...
14:05
Yerevan court hands down jail term to opposition activist Narek Malyan
A first instance court in Yerevan on Friday handed down a one-year prison sentence to opposition activist, writer and publicist Narek Malyan....
13:32
Minsk hosts meeting of CIS Council of Foreign Ministers
The foreign ministers of the CIS member states honored the victims of the terrorist attack in Crocus City Hall with a minute of silence at...
13:09
Arman Tatoyan: Border issue cannot be separated from people
The issue of borders cannot be separated from people because it is precisely about ensuring their safety and security, claims former Armenian...
12:36
Armenian opposition votes against domestic violence bill using term 'partner'
Armenian opposition MPs on Friday voted against amendments to the domestic violence law introducing the concept of the “partner”....
11:58
Freedom House reports decline in Armenia's democratic governance rating
The Washington-based non-profit organization Freedom House found that democracy in Armenia regressed in 2023. "National...
11:31
False terror alert causes panic in Yerevan schools
A fake threat of terrorism has caused a panic in Yerevan schools since Friday morning. Many parents rushed to schools to take their children...
11:00
Senator Portantino leads efforts to include Armenian American representation in U.S. census
Senator Anthony J. Portantino (D – Burbank) led efforts this week to submit a letter to the White House urging President Biden to address...
17:06
Armen Ashotyan: Do you think I'd agree to have Nikol Pashinyan vouch for me?
Opposition politician Armen Ashotyan, deputy chair of the Republican Party of Armenia (RPA), will remain in custody for three more months....
16:35
Yerevan court extends Armen Ashotyan's detention
The Anti-Corruption Court in Yerevan on Thursday extended opposition politician Armen Ashotyan’s detention for three more months....

Follow us and get updates!

Most popular articles

{"core.blocks.header.spell_message1":"Selected mistake: ","core.blocks.header.spell_message2":"Send a message about the mistake?"}