Committee Vote Likely Delayed Until September
WASHINGTON, DC — The nomination of Ambassador-Designate John Heffern to serve as the next U.S. Ambassador to Armenia was held over by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee during today’s business meeting at the behest of Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ), reported the Armenian Assembly of America.
Heffern was a last minute addition to today’s Senate Foreign Relations Committee meeting agenda. Senator Menendez told the Armenian Assembly that he needed more time to review the responses received from Heffern, and remains troubled by the Administration’s wordsmithing regarding U.S. affirmation and recognition of the Armenian Genocide.
During Heffern’s confirmation hearing, Senator Menendez expressed his continued frustration with Administration policy regarding the Armenian Genocide, stating that this is “an inartful dance that we do. We have a State Department whose history full of dispatches cites the atrocities committed during this period of time. We have a Convention from which we signed on to as a signatory that clearly defines these acts as genocide. We have a historical knowledge of the facts which we accept that would amount to genocide, but we are unwilling to reference it as genocide. And if we cannot accept the past we cannot move forward, and so I find it very difficult to be sending diplomats of the United States to a country in which they will go, and I hope you will go, as some of your predecessors have, to a Genocide commemoration and yet never be able to use the word genocide. It is much more than a question of a word. It is everything that signifies our commitment to saying ‘Never Again’ and yet we cannot even acknowledge this fact and we put diplomats in a position that I think is totally untenable.”
With the “holdover” in place, a vote on Heffern’s candidacy will be delayed until the next Senate Foreign Relations Committee business meeting, which according to sources, may likely be in September.