Congressional Quarterly TODAY ONLINE NEWS – FOREIGN POLICY
Oct. 4, 2011 – 8:45 p.m.Senate Confirms Ambassador to TurkeyBy Rachael Bade, CQ StaffThe Senate on Tuesday confirmed President Obama’s renomination of Francis J. Ricciardone Jr. to be ambassador to Turkey, despite some lawmakers’ objections.
The Senate gave voice-vote approval to Ricciardone, who has been serving in the position since receiving a presidential recess appointment in late 2010.
Ricciardone originally was nominated earlier in the 110th Congress, but the confirmation process was derailed by a Senate hold. Since his recess appointment, he has faced resistance from both Democrats and Republicans critical of his position toward Turkey’s eastern neighbor, Armenia.
In a Foreign Relations Committee markup Sept. 13, New Jersey Democrat Robert Menendez disagreed strongly with the nominee’s written response to questions on the state of Armenian Christian churches in Turkey. Ricciardone said several hundred churches remain functioning since the mass slaughter of Armenians in Turkey in 1915, but Menendez charged that the nominee had vastly overestimated the figure.
Idaho Republican Jim Risch and California Democrat Barbara Boxer also have criticized Ricciardone, a longtime Foreign Service official who has served as U.S. ambassador to Egypt, the Philippines and Palau.
Republican Sam Brownback placed a hold on Ricciardone in the fall of 2010, accusing the nominee of undermining U.S. policy objectives while serving in some of his posts. Brownback, who is now the governor of Kansas, had been outspoken in his support for recognizing the Armenian massacre as genocide. He charged Ricciardone with not doing enough to support groups opposed to Saddam Hussein’s regime while the nominee was posted in Iraq years earlier and to promote U.S. democratization efforts while serving as the head diplomat in Cairo.
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Senate Confirms Ambassador to Turkey
Publicado por Fundación Luisa Hairabedian en 10:34