WASHINGTON, D.C. – During a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on Tuesday, in response to questions posed by Ranking Member Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Senator Ed Markey (D-MA), the U.S. Ambassadorial nominee to Armenia, Lynne M. Tracy, agreed that “1.5 million Armenians were deported, massacred, or marched to their death in the final years of the Ottoman Empire” in 1915, but fell short of properly categorizing the killings as a genocide, reported the Armenian Assembly of America (Assembly).

“We have a historical reality. One and a half million people were massacred. That’s a genocide. And yet, we send an Ambassador to the country. We will have them go to a memorial of a holocaust of Armenian people, yet they won’t be able to call it a genocide,” Ranking Member Menendez said. “If we are not able to acknowledge the past, we are destined to relive it.”

Ranking Member Menendez asked Tracy a series of questions on the Armenian Genocide and the historical facts of what occurred, and also on a U.S. tax treaty between the two countries.

“The Trump Administration and I personally acknowledge the historical facts of what took place at the end of the Ottoman Empire – the mass killings, the forced deportations, and marches that ended 1.5 million lives and a lot of sufferings. If confirmed, I will do everything in my power to acknowledge and respect the losses and suffering, and commit myself to participating in any remembrance activities,” Tracy explained during the Senate Foreign Relations Committee nomination hearing.

Referring to the Armenian Genocide, Senator Markey said, “It’s time for us just to stand up and call it what it was. It helps us in the future to have credibility.”

Senator Markey also asked how the Administration plans to support Armenia’s democratic reforms, which Tracy indicated were “remarkable.” With national elections in Armenia on Sunday, December 9, the nominee also made clear: “The overall goal of our Armenia policy remains an independent, democratic, and prosperous Armenia, at peace with its neighbors. Situated astride a geographic and cultural crossroads, Armenia has always balanced competing interests, and we continue to affirm our commitment to a sovereign Armenia, free to choose its own partners.”

“In April and May of this year, hundreds of thousands of Armenian citizens took to the streets with determination but without violence to hold their government accountable. Like so many others, I was heartened to see a peaceful transition of power. Armenia still has work ahead, however, to cement the gains of the past six months. If confirmed, I would continue the distinguished efforts of my predecessor, Ambassador Rick Mills, to support the aspirations of the Armenian people, who are calling for accountable governance, an economy free of unfair and monopolistic practices, respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, rule of law buttressed by an independent judiciary, and a system of government with strong checks and balances,” Tracy added.

Lynne M. Tracy of Ohio is a Career Member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of Minister-Counselor, currently serving as Senior Advisor for Russia Affairs at the U.S. Department of State. Previously, she served as Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow, Russia; Deputy Assistant Secretary for Central Asia in the Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs at the Department of State; Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan; and Principal Officer at the U.S. Embassy Branch Office in Astana, Kazakhstan. Additionally, Ms. Tracy served as the Principal Officer at the U.S. Consulate in Peshawar, Pakistan, where she was awarded the Secretary’s Award for Heroism. She is the recipient of the State Department’s Distinguished Honor Award. Ms. Tracy earned her B.A. from the University of Georgia and J.D. from the University of Akron.

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