Secretary of State Nominee Rex Tillerson Supports Peaceful Resolution in Artsakh

Armenian Assembly Commends Senator Markey

WASHINGTON, D.C. – As previously reported by the
Armenian Assembly of America (Assembly), the Senate Foreign Relations Committee
approved President Donald Trump’s Secretary of State nomination of Rex
Tillerson, and is currently awaiting approval by the full Senate.

Senator Edward Markey (D-MA), a strong supporter of U.S.-Armenia
relations, asked the Secretary of State nominee a series of questions about
America’s role in the region. As a Co-Chair of the OSCE Minsk Group, the U.S.
plays a critical role in maintaining stability in the South Caucasus through
its mediation of the Nagorno Karabakh conflict. Tillerson promised: “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.”

“We call upon the Administration to hold Azerbaijan
accountable for its blatant cease-fire violations and resulting atrocities as
well as Azerbaijan’s continued targeting of civilian facilities such as a
kindergarten in the Tavush region of Armenia,” stated Assembly Executive
Director  Bryan Ardouny. “We commend
Senator Markey for raising key issues of concern for the Armenian American
community and look forward to working him and his colleagues in the 115th
Congress,” Ardouny added.

Focusing on Armenia’s other hostile neighbor, Turkey, Sen. Markey noted
that “the United States has spoken clearly about the need for Turkey to lift
its more than 20-year blockade of Armenia and establish diplomatic relations
with Armenia.” Senator Markey asked the Secretary of State nominee what steps
he would take to ensure that Turkey ends its blockade of Armenia. Tillerson
responded: “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.”
He also added that he will “ensure protection of religious minorities and
their property rights, including the Armenian community in Turkey.”

Tillerson assured that he is committed to fostering the
relationship between the U.S. and Armenia, including economic opportunities.
“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,” he continued. Tillerson also recognized “the tremendous
challenges facing Armenia due to the influx of refugees” and plans
“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.”

Established in 1972, the Armenian Assembly of America is the
largest Washington-based nationwide organization promoting public understanding
and awareness of Armenian issues. The Assembly is a non-partisan, 501©(3)
tax-exempt membership organization.

 

Photo Caption 1: Secretary of State Nominee, Rex Tillerson

Photo Caption 2: Senator Edward Markey (D-MA)

Senate Foreign Relations Committee Approves Secretary of State Nominee Rex Tillerson

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Armenian Assembly Notes Key Priorities for U.S.-Armenia Relations

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.”

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“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.

Established in 1972, the Armenian Assembly of America is the largest Washington-based nationwide organization promoting public understanding and awareness of Armenian issues. The Assembly is a non-partisan, 501©(3) tax-exempt membership organization.

Photo Caption 1: Secretary of State Nominee, Rex Tillerson

Photo Caption 2: Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ)