- The Washington Times
Sunday, February 6, 2011


Armenian-Americans are organizing for a second time to stop the appointment of career diplomat Matthew Bryza as ambassador to Azerbaijan, where he is serving in a temporary position.

The Armenian-American lobby, politically powerful in states including New Jersey and California, claims Mr. Bryza is biased toward Azerbaijan, which is locked in a bitter and sometimes bloody conflict with neighboring Armenia.

Activists blocked his appointment last year in one of the most public disputes over a diplomatic nomination ever seen on Capitol Hill. President Obama sent Mr. Bryza to Azerbaijan in a congressional recess appointment in December, but the assignment is only for a year. Mr. Obama renominated him last month, ignoring objections from two Democratic senators, Barbara Boxer of California and Robert Menendez of New Jersey.

“Armenian-American voters are, once again, disappointed that President Obama, having failed to honor any of his many pledges to Armenian-American voters, is now, over the strong objections of senators from his own party, pressing for Senate confirmation of his controversial and deeply flawed recess appointment of Matt Bryza,” said Aram Hamparian, executive director of the Armenian National Committee of America.

During the presidential campaign in 2008, Mr. Obama courted Armenian-American voters by promising to support their demand for a congressional resolution identifying as genocide the killing of hundreds of thousands of Armenians in the Ottoman Turkish Empire during World War I. He broke his promise once he was in office and opposed an Armenian genocide resolution last year.

Mr. Hamparian appealed to Mrs. Boxer and Mr. Menendez, who had blocked Mr. Bryza’s confirmation by the Senate, forcing Mr. Obama to make the recess appointment after Congress adjourned in December.

“We look to senators to stand up for U.S. interests, American values and our nation’s diplomacy credibility by doing everything in their power to prevent the confirmation of this candidate,” Mr. Hamparian said.


Foreign visitors in Washington this week include:


Dacian Ciolos, the European Union commissioner for agriculture and rural development, who meets with members of the Obama administration and Congress to discuss EU and U.S. farm policies.


- Prime Minister Borut Pahor of Slovenia, who opens a photo exhibition at the Slovenian Embassy to mark Slovenian Culture Day.

Juan Daniel Aleman, secretary general of the Central American Integration System, which promotes human rights. He will address the Inter-American Dialogue.

Masahiro Kawai, chief executive officer of the Asian Development Bank Institute in Tokyo, and Ganeshan Wignaraja, principal economist in the bank’s office of Regional Economic Integration in Manila. They address the Peterson Institute for International Economics about their new book about Asia’s free-trade agreements.

Erion Veliaj, civil society activist and coordinator of the Albanian opposition parties, who addresses the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars about political corruption in Albania.


Ulrich Eckle, principal administrator of the European Union’s new diplomatic service. He addresses the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.

Call Embassy Row at 202/636-3297 or e-mail jmorrison@washington times.com.

• James Morrison can be reached at jmorrison@washingtontimes.com.

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