Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Armenian Lobby Fights Nomination of New US Ambassador to Azerbaijan

I received an email from the Armenian National Council of America in opposition to the nomination of Matthew Bryza as ambassador to Baku. Among the ANCA complaints was this item:
Firing of Ambassador John Evans:

Matthew Bryza served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State, overseeing Armenia and the surrounding region, during the firing of U.S. Ambassador to Armenia, John Marshall Evans, over his truthful statements on the Armenian Genocide. He also held this position during what the Washington Post has described as the State Department’s intervention with the American Foreign Service Association (AFSA) regarding the withdrawal of its award to Ambassador Evans for constructive dissent.

Mr. Bryza has yet to offer any meaningful insights into the specific justification for the firing of Ambassador Evans or to discuss his role in the termination of a distinguished 35-year diplomatic career.
The website has posted some background on the Evans controversy:
Evans's use of the word `genocide,' which is bound to anger Turkey, was also announced and welcomed by the chairman of the Armenian Assembly of America, Anthony Barsamian. `In his public commentaries, Ambassador Evans repeatedly employed the words "Armenian Genocide" to properly characterize the attempted annihilation of our people by Ottoman Turkey,' he said in a speech in Los Angeles.

Barsamian was addressing more than 270 community leaders that gathered to pay tribute to countries that attempted to stop or recognized the genocide.

Evans thus became the first U.S. official since former President Ronald Reagan to publicly describe the mass killings and deportations of Ottoman Armenia as a genocide. Reagan did so in an April 1981 statement on the genocide committed in Cambodia in the 1970s.