WASHINGTON, DC – Armenian National Committee of America Executive Director Aram Hamparian made the following comments following the Senate Foreign Relations Committee confirmation hearing with U.S. Ambassador Azerbaijan designate Matthelw Bryza.
“Matt Bryza’s testimony unfortunately raised more questions than it answered, underscoring our longstanding concern that he is not the right person to represent the United States in Azerbaijan.”
“Today’s hearing shed long overdue sunshine on a number of serious shortcomings in Mr. Bryza’s diplomatic activities, starting with his consistent failure to challenge Azerbaijan’s belligerence, the dramatic under-spending of Congressional allocations for Nagorno Karabagh, and including, of course, his unwillingness to forcefully confront Baku’s video-taped destruction of the Djulfa Armenian cemetery. In terms of addressing conflict of interest issues, his responses also fell short. His announcement that his wife, who professionally advocates on Caspian energy policy and works at the Hudson Institute, whose supporters include Azerbaijani, Turkish, and energy corporate interests, has now pledged to steer clear of State Department policymakers dealing with Azerbaijan is too little, too late, coming, as it does, ten years into his service in a series of senior and sensitive posts dealing directly with Baku and the Caspian energy industry.
“We want to share our special appreciation with Senators Boxer and Menendez for their continued leadership in ensuring that the Senate approves a diplomat to Baku who can most effectively advance U.S. interests and American values in the Caucasus region, and offer thanks to Chairwoman Shaheen for raising relevant concerns regarding a possible conflict of interest.”