WASHINGTON, D.C. – On January 23, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee approved President Donald Trump’s Secretary of State nomination of Rex Tillerson by a party line vote of 11 to 10, clearing the path for approval by the full Senate.
As genocide denialists are calling upon President Trump and his team to guarantee that the Armenian Genocide will not be recognized by his administration, Trump’s cabinet nominees are taking a considered view of this important human rights issues. Responding to a question for the record posed by New Jersey’s senior Senator, Bob Menendez (D-NJ), the Secretary of State nominee, for his part, said: “The tragic atrocities of 1915 remain a painful issue in the relationship between Armenia and Turkey, and it is in the U.S. interest to ensure peaceful and stable relations between the two countries. If confirmed, I will support a full accounting of the historical events and an open dialogue between Armenia and Turkey in the interest of regional stability.”
Additionally, President Trump’s U.S. Representative to the United Nations nominee Nikki Haley responded to Senator Menendez’s question about supporting a U.S. declaration calling the Armenian Genocide as such and whether the failure to do so hereto speaks ill of our values and encourages the continuation of such crimes. She promised: “I will never shy away from calling out other countries for actions taken in conflict with U.S. values and in violation of human rights and international norms.”
Focusing on Turkey’s violations of basic freedoms, Tillerson made it clear that he is “very concerned about many of the measures recently taken by the Turkish government.” He stated: “Religious freedom is a core American principle and an important aspect of international peace and stability. If confirmed, I will work with Turkey to safeguard religious minorities and promote respect for their cultural heritages, including the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the Halki Seminary.”
“The Armenian Assembly greatly appreciates Senator Menendez’s long-standing commitment and leadership on Armenian issues and the questions he raised for the nominee,” stated Executive Director Bryan Ardouny. As Tillerson awaits a final vote by the full Senate, more responses to questions regarding U.S.-Armenia relations and the region are anticipated.
“We look forward to working with the new Administration and Congress to further strengthen the permanent bonds between the United States and Armenia as well as expand economic opportunities for Armenia,” Ardouny said.