President Trump announced Tuesday that Mike Pompeo, now the C.I.A. director, will become secretary of state, replacing Rex W. Tillerson, ending his short but tumultuous tenure as the nation’s chief diplomat. Mr. Tillerson found himself repeatedly at odds with Mr. Trump on a variety of key foreign policy issues.
The mighty power The United State capitulate to Erdogan Ottoman Slap
Turkey,FM Çavuşoğlu US have ‘come to terms’ to normalize ties, Manbij is priority:
US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu have agreed that Washington and Ankara will “no longer act alone” in Syria. The US still urged Turkey to “show restraint” in Afrin.
After weeks of tensions between the US and Turkey, with the two NATO powers perilously close to fighting on opposite sides of the conflict in northern Syria, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson met with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu to try to calm the mood.
Washington and Ankara are at odds over Turkey’s offensive in the northwestern Syria region of Afrin which seeks to drive the Kurdish YPG from the area. The YPG had been Washington’s most effective Syrian ally in the fight against the militant “Islamic State” (IS) group.
“We are not going to act alone any longer, not the US doing one thing, Turkey doing another,” Tillerson said at a joint press conference in Ankara. “We will work together … we have good mechanisms on how we can achieve this, there is a lot of work to be done,” he said.
Tillerson also said that Syria and the US had “precisely the same” objectives for the conflict in Syria, namely defeating IS, stabilizing the wartorn country, and creating a unified and democratic nation. Both the US and Turkey oppose Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
“We are agreed on normalizing relations again,” Cavusoglu said at the press conference, adding that Washington-Ankara ties were at a “critical phase.”
Rex Tillerson, President Trump’s pick for Secretary of State and Nikki Haley, Comment on Armenia, Artsakh
WASHINGTON—Senators Robert Menendez and Ed Markey submitted questions regarding the United State foreign policy vis-à-vis Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh to Rex Tillerson, President Donald J. Trump’s pick for Secretary of State and Nikki Haley, his nominee for US Ambassador to the United Nations, during their confirmation hearings.
The Senate Foreign Relations Committee approved Tillerson’s nomination on January 23, paving the way for a full-senate confirmation and Haley was confirmed to her post on by the senate on Janurary 24.
Tillerson on Artsakh
Responding to a question from Markey regarding the stability in the Caucasus through peace in Nagorno-Karabakh, as well the holding Azerbaijan accountable for cease fire violations, Tillerson advocated for a peaceful resolution to the Artsakh conflict.
“If confirmed, I will work with the governments of Armenia and Azerbaijan to find a peaceful, long-term solution that allows for stability and prosperity in the region. The first step in this process must be to build trust by ensuring that all agreements between the parties are respected,” said Tillerson, calling the “frozen” Nagorno-Karabakh conflict “a threat to stability in the region and U.S. national security interests.
Armenian Genocide Recognition, Relations with Turkey
On a question regarding US recognition of the Armenian Genocide and holding Turkey accountable for pursuing its current policy, Tillerson responded to Menendez (D-NJ) and Markey (D-Mass.) by saying, “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.”
Haley responded to Menendez’s inquiry 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.”
“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,” said Haley.
To Markey’s question about US efforts to urge Turkey to end the 20-plus-year blockade of Armenia, Tillerson said: “I will support the normalized diplomatic, economic, and civil society relations, between Armenia and Turkey in my ongoing discussions with the two parties. U.S. leadership and re-engagement in the region at large will help build the necessary trust to improve relations between Armenia and Turkey.”
Tillerson also touched on protection of religious minorities in Turkey, saying he would “ensure protection of religious minorities and their property rights, including the Armenian community in Turkey,” in response to question from Markey.
In response to a similar question from Menendez, Tillerson said he is “very concerned about many of the measures recently taken by the Turkish government.”
“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,” added Tillerson.
US Armenia Relations
In response to questions from Markey, Tillerson discussed US-Armenia trade and the challenges facing Armenia due to the influx of refugees from Syria.
“It is in the interest of the United States to promote mutually beneficial trade between the United States and Armenia. If confirmed, I will work closely with the U.S. Trade Representative and other relevant parts of the U.S. government to explore the possibilities to expand trade and investment between the United States and Armenia in a way that creates U.S. jobs and economic growth,” said Tillerson.
“I recognize the tremendous challenges facing Armenia due to the influx of refugees. If confirmed, I will work with our European partners to to ensure cost-effective assistance to Armenia as part of a broader strategy for handling the Syrian refugee issue and protecting U.S. national security interests,” added Tillerson.
Armenian Assembly highlights policy issues for U.S. Secretary of State nomination
As the Senate Foreign Relations Committee met to consider President-Elect Donald Trump’s Secretary of State Nominee Mr. Rex Tillerson, former ExxonMobil CEO, the Armenian Assembly of America (Assembly) highlighted key policy issues in a letter sent to Chairman Bob Corker (R-TN) and Ranking Member Ben Cardin (D-MD).
“We need a Secretary of State committed to strengthening the permanent bonds between Armenia and the United States, two countries that share common values and beliefs, and who will see in Armenia, which remains an island of stability, a vital ally in the region,” Assembly Co-Chairs Anthony Barsamian and Van Krikorian said in their letter to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. “United States-Armenia relations have been consistently characterized by friendship and reciprocity and an active Armenian American community strongly supports further expanding the United States partnership with the Republic of Armenia,” they added.
Assembly Co-Chairs highlighted several areas of concern, including Azerbaijan’s flagrant violations of the 1994/5 cease-fire agreement with respect to the Nagorno Karabakh conflict, intentionally escalating the violence as pressure for Armenian concessions and launching a 4-day war last April.
“Such behavior makes it clear that Azerbaijan cannot be trusted to honor its commitments and must be held accountable for its egregious human rights violations,” the Co-Chairs said in the letter. “All Americans should be deeply troubled by…reports of Azerbaijan’s ISIS-inspired mutilations of civilians and beheadings of soldiers.”
“Now is the time to strengthen the OSCE process and ensure vigorous U.S. engagement to bring about a lasting and durable settlement of the Nagorno Karabakh conflict that is agreeable to all parties, and based upon America’s founding commitment to the principles of democracy, rule of law, and self-determination,” they continued.
Barsamian and Krikorian also noted the Assembly’s concerns with respect to Turkey’s more than 20-year blockade of Armenia and its ongoing campaign of genocide denial. “Within Turkey, its treatment of minority communities, repression of basic freedoms, ties to ISIS, and its ongoing failure to return confiscated Armenian churches as well as its continued denial of the Armenian Genocide remain troubling trends,” Co-Chairs Barsamian and Krikorian stated.
In his opening statement, Secretary of State Nominee Tillerson said that “Our approach to human rights begins by acknowledging that American leadership requires moral clarity. We do not face an ‘either or’ choice on defending global human rights. Our values are our interests when it comes to human rights and humanitarian assistance…But our leadership demands action specifically focused on improving the conditions of people the world over, utilizing both aid and economic sanctions as instruments of foreign policy when appropriate.”
Both Azerbaijan and Turkey have a history of human rights abuses, especially in recent reports by international organizations such as Human Rights Watch and the U.S. Helsinki Commission. America and its next Secretary of State need to uphold America’s core values and protect fundamental freedoms and human rights.
As the confirmation process continues, the Assembly will continue to advance key priorities and look for ways to further expand U.S.-Armenia relations.