Senate Foreign Relations Committee Ranking Member Robert Menendez Reiterates Key Concerns
WASHINGTON, D.C. – In the final days of the 115th Congress, last week, the U.S. Senate confirmed by a voice vote Ambassadorial nominees Lynne M. Tracy and Earle D. Litzenberger to represent the United States in Armenia and Azerbaijan, respectively.
Last month, during the Senate Foreign Relations Committee (SFRC) business meeting on the nominations, Ranking Member Robert Menendez (D-NJ) explained his support for both candidates, as well as the importance of strong U.S.-Armenia relations.
“Armenia and the Caucasus region will continue to be vital to regional and global security. According to the OSCE, Armenia’s elections over the weekend met international standards. I look forward to supporting the government’s efforts to build strong democratic institutions, a vibrant Armenian economy, and oppose any efforts to violate Armenia’s sovereignty,” Ranking Member Menendez said.
During Ambassador-designate Tracy’s nomination hearing she promised to support Armenia’s “remarkable” democratic reforms. As to questions at the hearing by SFRC Ranking Member Menendez and Senator Ed Markey (D-MA) on the Armenian Genocide, she 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 genocide.
“Throughout my time in the Senate, I have advocated for an honest accounting of the Armenian genocide. I believe we have a moral imperative to recognize the atrocities that were committed against the Armenian people. Ms. Tracy’s experience in Russia and Central Asia positions her to help navigate U.S. policy in this critical time. I support this nomination, but expect to work closely with Ms. Tracy on how she will encourage an honest acknowledgement of the Armenian Genocide, support Armenia’s ongoing efforts to ensure accountable, citizen-responsive governance, and support efforts to reach a peaceful settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict,” he added.
During the SFRC business meeting, Senator Menendez also noted the importance of safety in Artsakh (Nagorno Karabakh), and his expectations for the U.S. Ambassador selected to be the representative in Azerbaijan.
“I support Mr. Litzenberger’s nomination and expect to have close and continuing dialogue with him on how he will urge the Azeris to step back from any threatening behavior that could disrupt the line of contact in Nagorno Karabakh, support respect for human rights, and support efforts to reach a peaceful settlement of the Nagorno Karabakh conflict,” Senator Menendez said.
The hearing for Ambassador-designate Litzenberger occurred in October, wherein he restated the U.S. position condemning violence along the line of contact, which undermines the peace process and violates the 1994 cease-fire agreement.
“We appreciate the important issues raised by Senators Robert Menendez and Ed Markey during the confirmation process. We look forward to working with the new Congress to ensure robust assistance to further Armenia’s democratic development,” Armenian Assembly Executive Director Bryan Ardouny said.
Former U.S. Ambassador to Armenia, Richard Mills, concluded his tenure in Yerevan in October 2018, whereas former U.S. Ambassador to Azerbaijan, Robert Cekuta, concluded his tenure in Baku in March of 2018. Interestingly, the post of U.S. Ambassador in Ankara has been vacant since October 2017, with no nomination pending.
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.
Earle (Lee) Litzenberger is a career member of the Senior Foreign Service with the rank of Minister Counselor. He has served as the Senior Advisor in the Bureau of Political-Military Affairs (PM) since January 2018. Mr. Litzenberger has served as Deputy Chief of Mission to the U.S. Mission to NATO, Brussels (2014-2017), the U.S. Embassy in Belgrade, Serbia (2010-2013) and the U.S. Embassy in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan (2006-2009). He was the NATO Deputy Senior Civilian Representative in Kabul, Afghanistan (2013-2014). His other overseas assignments include the U.S. Mission to the European Union, Brussels, and the U.S. Embassies in Kazakhstan, Bulgaria and Algeria, and the U.S. Consulate General in Marseille, France. Mr. Litzenberger has also served at the Department of State in Washington, in the Office of the Deputy Secretary, the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs, and the Bureau of Political-Military Affairs. He holds a B.A. in History from Middlebury College and an M.S. in Strategic Studies from the U.S. Army War College. Mr. Litzenberger speaks French, Russian, Bulgarian and Serbo-Croatian.
A Conversation with Arnold A. Chacon, U.S. Department of State
Friday, October 9, 2015 | 2:00 PM
FIU Modesto A. Maidique Campus | GC 140
Director Arnold A. Chacon, a 33-year career diplomat with the U.S. Department of State, will talk about the role of the State Department, career opportunities at State, and share insights on life in the Foreign Service and the rewards of public service. A former U.S. Ambassador to Guatemala with experience serving in Latin America, Europe and other parts of the world, Director Chacon will also address the policy and professional challenges and opportunities facing U.S. diplomats in an uncertain world.
This event will be moderated by Dr. Frank Mora, Director of the Kimberly Green Latin American and Caribbean Center and former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for the Western Hemisphere.
Co-sponsored by the Kimberly Green Latin American and Caribbean Center, Department of Politics and International Relations and Office of Global Learning Initiatives.
This event is free and open to the public. For more information, call 305-348-7266.
By Taniel Koushakjian
FLArmenians Managing Editor
Florida Armenians is pleased to announce that Jacksonville based reporter Janna Mosinyan has landed a new position in our nation’s capital as in intern with KPMG.
Earlier this year, Mosinyan received her Bachelor of Art degree from the University of North Florida in Political Science and Public Administration. Recently, she returned from an internship with the U.S. State Department in Luxembourg.
According to Mosinyan, her time at the U.S. Embassy of Luxembourg was “an experience of a lifetime.” “During my internship I worked with a tight-knit political and economics team, which gave me a hands-on experience in my field,” Mosinyan said. Her duties included assisting U.S. diplomats with delivering diplomatic initiatives to Government of Luxembourg officials on topics ranging from Russia sanctions to Ukraine to the Iran nuclear negotiations. Among her accomplishments, Mosinyan also contributed to the drafting of a three-year agriculture biotech outreach strategy for the U.S. Embassy in Luxembourg, which was selected by the State Department and approved for $12,000 in funding.
While currently interning at KPMG in Washington, DC, Mosinyan plans to attend graduate school in the fall in pursuit of a career in the U.S. Foreign Service. Florida Armenians congratulates Janna Mosinyan on her achievements and wishes her great success in the future.