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tv   Senate Foreign Relations Confirmation Hearing  CSPAN  December 7, 2018 12:14am-2:01am EST

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yemen. john barsa to be assistant administrator for u.s. aid for latin america and the caribbean. sarah-ann lynch to be ambassador to guyana, and , lynne tracy to be ambassador to armenia.. first of all, we have a very distinguished guest. one of my best friends in the senate, if not the best. he has served our state with distinction in many ways. he is here to introduce a great friend of both of hours, and out of respect for him, so he can go on about other business today. we welcome the great lamar alexander from tennessee. thank you senator corker. it's good to be in your committee, senator menendez, senator cardin, senator barrasso. it is my privilege today to introduce the committee to mr. arthur b. culvahouse, jr.. i'm going to do that by saying
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a few words about him and a few words about the country that president trump has nominated him to be the ambassador too. first more about mr. arthur b. culvahouse, jr. . he is the most accomplished lawyer i know and i do not know of many public servants were accomplished and he is. that may sound like an extravagant claim but i mean it sincerely. he had the great advantage of being born and raised in 10 mile tennessee. so that got him off to a good start. then, he went to the university of tennessee, where according to the professors there, he had the highest grades in finance of anybody and that lasted for a long time. he was selected as a scholar at new york university law school, which is sort of a public service scholarship for outstanding students who want to practice law in the grand manner, and he became legislative counsel to howard baker, our senator who later
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became majority leader of united senate. and whose daughter is in the audience today. he became a counsel to both john mccain and donald trump during their campaigns as they began to consider vice presidential selections. it was counsel to president ronald reagan while he was in the white house. and in the midst of all of that he has been the chairman of one of the world's largest law firms. i won't read all of the other activities that he has had, but theyãis there are enough to establish him as an enormously well-qualified for this position. he was awarded by president reagan the president citizens medal, an award established in 1969 to recognize citizens who perform exemplary deeds of service. he was a member of the president's foreign intelligence advisory board and the intelligence oversight board. the u.s. chamber of commerce commission on regulation of
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u.s. capital markets, board of visitors of the u.s. naval academy, member of the board of trustees at the brooking institution, and howard h. baker jr. center for public policy at the university of tennessee. so, he's enormously well- qualified, that's my comment about mr. arthur b. culvahouse, jr. . now, a short comment about australia, a country to which he has been nominated to be ambassador. my family lived there in 1987 for six months, and at a dinner there, i heard the governor general of australia talk about the relationship between the u.s. and his country. he said it is a happy accident of fate that the constitution of the united states is being signed in 1787, just as our first fleet was sailing eastward across the atlantic from rio to capetown on the third leg of its ten-months long voyage.
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the fleet carried a cargo of convicts who would have been on their way to georgia the united states had not the american revolution succeeded and denied the british the opportunity to send their prisoners to america. then, he went on. the weeks between our two nations, australia and united states have evolved from earliest times. our pioneers like yours, whereas unlikely a band as one could conceive. your gold rush spilled into hours, our constitution has been built on yours. our soldiers have died together and we have shared freedoms of speech and of association and of laws and humanities and of civil liberties and now both of us are a melting pot, this was the governor general of australia speaking. we read your part prose speak your poetry will we watch her films and weave and watch her terrible television dramas. mr. chairman, the english are
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our ancestors. the australians are our cousins, and i would suggest they are our first cousins. they deserve to have, as the representative of our country to them, one of our finest. i believe that mr. arthur b. culvahouse, jr. is one of the finest public servants we have. i hope he is confirmed rapidly by this committee and by the whole senate. and the only other thing i would say is that i am more than a little jealous that he is the tennessean who gets to be the ambassador to australia. if he is confirmed by the senate which i hope you will be he will have a wonderful experience ahead of him. thank you mr. chairman. >> thank you. would you like to say anything? with that, we understand you are very busy and you would like to leave.
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i would like to also before opening comments like to recognize the fact that darrell issa is here. he has been nominated to be the usda had an at some point that will be taken up today. today, as i mentioned we will consider the nominations of six individuals who serve our nation come up both at home and abroad in a variety of important positions. welcome here today and we thank you for your willingness to serve. first we have mr. arthur b. culvahouse, jr. of tennessee to serve as ambassador to australia. he brings with him a wealth of experience in both government and the private sector. he previously served as top aide to us senator howard baker and for decades he practiced law with a firm where he is currently chair twin -- emeritus and of counsel. there due to his work on by zuri -- sports, he has earned a
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reputation as a person of integrity and of great intellect. it is a personal honor for me that i am able to call him my friend, and i know he will represent our nation well. next, we have ambassador carol perez to serve as director general of the foreign service and director of human sources at the department of state . while much of the attention usually is given this position focuses on the role lays in relation to foreign service, this position is also the chief human resources officer or civil service. thank you. ambassador perez is a career member of the foreign service and currently serve as our ambassador in santiago chile which is been stationed since 2016. having previously served as us counsel general in milan and principal deputy assistant security in the human resources bureau, ambassador perez is amply familiar with the bureau she will be heading and brings
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with her a variety of state department management experience as she takes on her new role. next, we have mr. christopher henzel to be ambassador to yemen. he is also a member of the foreign service and has completed numerous true across the middle east. he serves as the deputy chief of mission in our embassy in riyadh saudi arabia and as the poster yemen is currently based in saudi arabia, he is already familiar with the environment where the mission he is headed is located. having viewed the conflict in yemen from the inside of the kingdom for the last two years, he brings with him a unique perspective and a wealth of knowledge of the conflicts, and of saudi arabia's influence in the country. excepting his disposition is a great responsibility. mr. hensel will have to
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navigate the political and social complexities of this region in an effort to bring peace to this war-ravaged nation. next we have john barsa to be assistant administrator for u.s. aid for latin america and the caribbean. he currently serves as the acting assistant secretary of homeland security and the office of public liaison and he previously served in the us army reserves until his honorable discharge in 1996. before journeying the current administration he led the strategic communications and business development efforts for various corporations and also served on the staff of former congressman lincoln diaz- balart. his family came to this country after fleeing oppression from cuba. has a vast knowledge of latin america and is a fluent spanish speaker, and as you can tell, i
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am not. with his experience in the private sector i believe he will be an acid to u.s. aid . next, we have sarah and lynch to be ambassador to the the cooperative republic of guyana. . as career for an officer currently serving as senior deputy administrator in u.s. aid's bureau for latin america and caribbean i believe she has experience and management skills necessary to serve as head of mission in georgetown. finally we have lynne tracy to be ambassador to armenia. as a career foreign service officer with deep experience i believe she will be an asset to the united states and the caucusus. my thanks to all of you for being here and with that i will turn to my friend the ranking member, bob menendez for any opening comments he wishes to have. take you mr. chairman, first of all there's no more room at the table to have the hearing so we have maxed out on the number of nominees who are
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here. but we congratulate you all it's been a pretty impressive and distinguished panel of anomalies from varied backgrounds and agencies. among others we have a us ambassador, a former counselor to the president of the united states, a holder of the secretary's award for heroism, so we thank you all for your service and your continued willingness to serve. mr. christopher henzel while we have attention all over the world i suspect you will have more attention from your colleagues on this panel. as the commissioner to a panel in riyadh for number of years you have had a front seat to the crisis in yemen. you understand the key actors and i hope you will be able to offer some insight into the trajectory of the us policy towards yemen and the saudi coalition's efforts there. i hope you can provide some insight not just into the facts on the ground but what we hope
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to achieve there. with more than 10,000 people dead, 14 million people on the brink of starvation we look forward to your insight. be ambassador to armenia is a very important position of great interest to me. armenia experienced a changing government earlier this year and we encourage the continuing strength of democratic institutions in the country. many challenges remain outside the borders of this small nation. i remain concerned about the aggressive role of azerbaijan and the conflict and i welcome the effort of the process to find a path forward. the kremlin has made no secret of its agenda to undermine democracies across the world and we must work together to counter such influence in armenia. central to my work in armenia over the years has been my advocacy for the truth with
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respect to the armenian genocide. i have long worked in the united states senate to push for an honest accounting of the armenian genocide. and to ensure that anyone who represents the united states government does so as well. in every session of congress since 2006 i've introduced or cosponsored resolutions affirming the facts of the armenian genocide. when i was the chairman of the committee, i was proud to preside over the first ever passage of an armenian genocide resolution out of the committee. i have also scrutinized ambassadorial nominees to the region, these actions are nominated by what i believe is a moral imperative for us all to recognize the atrocities against the armenian people so i look forward to engaging with you on your views with respect to the genocide this afternoon. next, with mr. parsa the administrator at usaid, the region of the world i have spent a lot of time on, if
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confirmed, mr. john barsa will assume this position at a time of many challenges from the economic humanitarian crisis in venezuela's to the violence in central america driving thousands to flee to their consolidation of peace in columbia after more than half of the century war. and at a time when the oppressive regimes in cuba and nicaragua continue to carry out human rights violations. this position is an important one as a requires vision and leadership to cower up the agency's mission of promoting democratic values and advancing inclusive economic growth i look forward to hearing from you. i also look forward to hearing from their lunch hour ambassador nominee to guyana a country with many challenges but also much potential. i'm also pleased that the president has nominated two well-qualified nominees. i look forward to hearing from both of them.
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australia is a key ally it's instrumental to our diplomatic security and economic security in the indo pacific and dealing with a rising china and this is essential for a functioning department of state so we look forward to all of your testimony and having an opportunity to ask you some questions and with that, mr. chairman i yield back to you. >> thank you it will be good if you just get your testimony in the order that we introduced you and i know you may have some family members that we would love to meet. this plus and minus having six people here we have asked that you shorten your comments to 2 1/2 minutes, if possible, just to help everyone out. the last time in front of c- span, but a little quicker as you will realize as this moves through, the quicker the, the better for the nominees. with that again, thank you for wanting to present yourself for service in this way, we are
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grateful to you and your families, and with that, if you would begin, ab we would appreciate it. >> yes sir, mr. chalmette chair -- shall i introduce my family first? i'm joined today by my three daughters, liz, sarah and anne and their three husbands, steve, jim and mike and my three grandsons. three of my five grandsons, joe, ty and connor. the two youngest grandsons in the interest of regular order and no protest, are not here since they are three years old and one year old. i am a lucky person to be represented by some people i love dearly. chairman corker, senator mendez, i am honored to be testified before the panel to be ambassador to australia of
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vital and steadfast alley of the united states. i sit here today in the dirksen building on the same floor and just a few steps away from where my government service began as chief legislative assistant to senator howard baker a fellow tennessean. howard took a risk in hiring me right out of law school to be as chief legislative is distant. although i was recommended to him by ben-tennessee lawyer named lamar alexander. howard later took me with him to the reagan white house where he recommended to president reagan that i be appointed counsel to the president when howard became white house chief of staff. it was therefore my rear privilege to work in a white house led by two american presidents, president ronald reagan, of course and then vice president george hw bush we honored this week. i very much appreciate centered alexander's introduction. more than that, i appreciate
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our long-standing friendship. i'm likewise grateful, mr. chairman for your friendship and support. i would be remiss if i didn't pay tribute to your stellar service to the senate and to our home state. more than anything, i treasure my three daughters and sarah miles, elizabeth and anne. i'm thankful that if i'm confirmed they will continue to support me in this new adventure. the united states and australia have been allies since 1951 and friends for far longer. australian troops have joined us in every major military conflict for the past 100 years. that shared history resonates personally with me as two of my uncles, my father's brothers served in the united states in world war ii while my father served in europe. i have visited the australian
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world war -- memorial where i learned firsthand about the sacrifices australians have made to defend freedom. and as i speak today standing with us in afghanistan in the campaign to defeat ices. the relationship between the united states and australia is as rocksolid as ever, and it concerned -- confirmed, i will make it my duty to ensure that our reliance remains vibrant and strong as when the kansas treaty was first signed in san francisco. australia is like waste a key foreign-policy partner working with us to promote a free and open indo pacific. our economic ties are centuries long-standing and extremely consequential. the united states is far and away australia's largest foreign investor, use export to australia support 300,000 american jobs, while american
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companies now employ more than 300,000 australians. mr. chairman, permit me to close by saying that if confirmed, i look forward to continuing to broaden and deepen these and many other relationships that tie our government and our people so closely together. thank you. >> inc. you, go ahead. >> chairman corker, ranking member menendez and distinguished members of the committee. i'm honored to appear before you as the director general of the worn service and the director of human services at the department of state. it would be my privilege to advance american security and values by empowering and strengthening the work forced charged with this critical mission. our service will employee personnel and other colleagues who work at the state department in washington and at 277 post around the world. secretary pompeo noted in a mission statement that this mission is not for the faint of
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heart. mr. chairman, for over 31 years i've had the pleasure of working with capable and dedicated and patriotic public servants. these women and men toil both at home and abroad in service to our country. they sort an oath to protect the constitution, defend the constitution and often to a great sacrifice to themselves and their families and i can pick up no higher honor than the recruitment, retention of our personnel. i would take a moment to take a moment to recognize that has recognize the members of my family. my husband michael and my daughter chelsea and carolyn and their husbands and i'm grateful for their love and support. the secretary noted in his confirmation second testimony that his first priority would be setting the mission and empowering our people into that end on may 15 he lifted the hiring freeze ending the workplace reduction plan.
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the secretary has also made clear of his commitment to filling senior vacancies and if confirmed these will be among my top priorities. our employees are self motivated and committed to the mission but be must work hard to turn this around. it's about retention professional development engagement and workplace culture. like the secretary, i believe in fostering a culture of excellence anchored by performance accountability and communication. communication begins with listening, but also requires responsiveness and transparency. the secretary has made this a priority and if confirmed i will follow his lead. thanks for your long-standing bipartisan support for building a workforce that reflects our country diversity we have made important progress. we have a ways to go, especially in fostering diversity and more senior levels. if confirmed i will work with the members of this committee to work that is built on the progress we have made.
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mr. chapman like our military we need skills to complete our mission. our almost 14,000 foreign service employers are a forward- deployed horse. doing everything from opening markets to american companies to preventing the spread of weapons of mass destruction. our 50,000 locally employed staff are the mainstay of the us diplomatic operations abroad. but whatever our position or title, as secretary has noted, we are one team with one mission and with one future. and i will work to enable this team effort to advance america security asperity and freedom. we live in a complex and changing world. change has always been with us but the pace has accelerated exponentially. successful organizations share one characteristic. they adapt. they have had a mixed record of doing so and this must change. the secretary is emphasized it
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needs to be nimble, smart and relevant. but to deliver better results for the american people the department must do a better job of supporting its own personnel. if confirmed i'm committing to doing just that. thank you for the opportunity to appear before you today. >> thank you. chairman corker ranking member menendez, members of the committee it is an honor to appear before you as president trumps nominee to serve as ambassador to the republic of yemen. i am grateful for his nomination and to secretary pompeo for his continued trust and confidence. first, i want to publicly thank my amazing wife adrian and our children clear, brendan and joey. i have had the pleasure of serving as a foreign service officer for 32 years and have spent most of my career focusing on the middle east and the muslim world. i cannot imagine having done this with the support of my family. families are an essential part
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of the foreign service and they sure both rewards and hardships of foreign service life. mr. chairman, ranking member menendez and members of the committee, if confirmed i will work to advance our country's foreign policy and national security interest in yemen. i will work to support the united nations's effort toward a negotiated cessation of hostilities and a comprehensive peace agreement in yemen to foster stability, support efforts to address dire consequences and ensure the safety and security of us citizens and employees under cheap admission authority. if confirmed, i will continue to work with my predecessor and engage with the internationally recognized government of the republic of yemen, now operating in riyadh. if confirmed i will support the efforts of you and special of a martin griffiths to support the
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hostilities and begin negotiations toward reconciliation and representative government. it is also imperative that we continue to urge all parties to allow commercial goods and humanitarian aid to reach the yemeni people, something i know this committee has been very active on. in early november, the administration announced that it would cease refueling coalition aircraft after the government of saudi arabia notified the united states that are no longer recite that's required assistance. on our urging the saudi-led coalition led the stop of cluster munitions and established the joint incident assessment team. the united states will continue to press the coalition and the republic of the yemen government to minimize civilian casualties and expand urgent humanitarian efforts throughout the country. the united nations estimates that 22 million yemenis, 80
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percent of the population are in need of assistance. an estimated 14 million people could face severe conditions if it worsens. united states is among the top humanitarian assistant donors to the yemeni donating more than one -- 697 million in aid since 2018 which includes nearly $130 million in additional emergency food assistance. unified and prosperous yemen at peace with itself and its neighbors is critical to the security of the gulf region and to the safe navigation. the united states will continue to lead the international community's response to mitigate the humanitarian crisis well helping to build a stronger foundation for durable peace. chairman corker and ranking member menendez, i'm grateful for this opportunity to appear before you today and look forward to answering your questions. >> thank you, mr. -- mr. barsa ? >> chairman corker and ranking
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menendez i am honored to appear before you today as nominee for assistant administrator for latin america and the caribbean. i deeply appreciate the presidents support and confidence in me with his nomination. if confirmed i look forward to working with the congress to make sure that advance us national security and geopolitical interest. as i begin my remarks i would like to recognize the outstanding leadership of sarah and lynch seated here with me and steve who has headed up u.s. aid's girl for the past two years. i would also like to think this opportunity to take my wife lisa and my daughters camille and olivia who are seated today behind me for their unwavering love and support. as the son of a cuban refugee group among people throughout
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the western hemisphere my understanding of the forces that deny people the ability to live in freedom, prosperity and safety in their own countries is not just something i know because of academic studies. it is part of my history. i know it innately and viscerally. throughout my career in public service as a member of the us army reserves for almost a decade, as it member of the congressional staff working in the us house of representatives and an executive working with homeland security i have always appreciated the ability of an individual to make a difference. if confirmed by the senate, charge before me of leaving the latin america and caribbean group is a great one. if confirmed it will be my responsibility and greatest honor to ensure that each and every individual in the bureau has the guidance and resources they need to accomplish their mission of furthering the us national interest by ensuring the growth of freedom, prosperity and democracy throughout the western hemisphere. it would be particular honored
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to serve under administrator mark green. his unwavering moral compass and leadership in the execution of the u.s. aid mission is inspirational. if confirmed i also look over to working closely with this committee. we will tackle discourages of corruption, impunity and dictatorial regimes that plague our part of the world. i'm humbled by the opportunity being afforded to me as an individual to enable positive change for countless individuals in our world. if confirmed i can without hesitation or reservation pledged you that i will endeavor to bring every talent and skill that i may have to the challenges before me in furtherance of the u.s. aid mission. mr. chairman and members of the committee thank you for the opportunity to testify before you and i welcome your questions. >> inc. you, ms. lynch? >> chairman corker, ranking member menendez and distinguished members of the
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committee i'm honest to appear before you today as president trumps nominee to serve as the next us ambassador to the republic of guyana. i am great to the president and secretary of state pompeo for the confidence they have placed in me. if confirmed i look forward to working with you and the staff and other members of the congress to advance our nation's interest in the cooperative republic of guyana. i would like to think this opportunity to thank my husband doctor kevin neely who is here with me for all his support over the years. our children could not be here but i would also like to thank them awry, drake and dylan for their support as well as there that's just their poor support of organizations. i'm also thankful to my mother evelyn of former member of the cadet nursing course and the army veteran of world war ii. my passion for international affairs was sparked years ago when i was accepted into the us peace corps. i was under served morocco and continued my work in international affairs as a u.s.
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aid officer serving for the past 25 years in bangladesh, peru and iraq and most recently in the bureau for latin america and the caribbean. having served over half my career working on issues related to latin america and the caribbean i am honored to be considered for this position in a region that is near and dear to my heart. if confirmed i will probably promote you with values and represent the united states in guyana, a melting pot of ethnic and religious diversity. i pledged to work with guyana in areas of mutual interest as we pledged to support the government of guyana as it emerges as a petroleum producer. and i will work with the government and people to build upon gains in governance and the rule of law. a secure democratic and democratic guyana will be a key partner of the united states. this is a particularly momentous time for guyana a country that the world bank
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early identifies as middle income. however after the discovery of significant reserves of oil could alter the equation for this small nation. as such, it is critical that the nation not fall into the trap of the resource curse. diana must continue to look for opportunities to diversify its economy, improve its governance and strengthens society. if confirmed i will look for ways to build upon the work that guyana has done to chart a productive course for its future. i look forward to expanding every opportunity to engage with the government and the people of guyana to help them fulfill their ambitious agenda. also i will work closely with our regional partners to broaden our engagement on the us caribbean 2020 strategy. finally as a matter of the highest priority i will strive to protect mission personnel and private citizens of guyana. chairman corker, ranking member menendez and members of the committee i think you all again
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for the opportunity to appear before you. >> inc. you, ms. tracy. >> mr. chairman ranking member menendez and distinguished members of the committee i'm honored to appear before you today as president trumps nominee to be the next us ambassador to armenia. if confirmed i pledged to work closely with this committee and all members of congress. i'm pleased to be joined today by my mother carol sue tracy and my sister anita. i would like to thank them as well as other family members who could not be here today. i particularly want to acknowledge my father albert tracy who passed away three weeks ago. he was a constant source of strength and encouragement and was so proud and happy when my nomination was announced. throughout my 24 years of public service, my family's support has meant everything to me. during some very tough and dangerous assignments. mr. chairman, the overall goal
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of our armenian policy remains an independent, democratic and prosperous armenia at peace with its neighbors and we continue to affirm our commitment to a sovereign armenia, free to choose its own partners. in april and may of this year, hundreds of thousands of armenian citizens took the streets with determination but without violence to hold their government accountable like so many others, i was heartened to see a peaceful transition of power. armenia still has work ahead, however to submit the gains of the past six months, if confirmed i would continue our efforts to support the democratic aspirations of the armenian people. we are grateful for the assistance from congress that has made a lasting impact on armenia's lasting development and transition. the peaceful sediment of the conflict is an essential for a more prosperous future for armenia and the south caucusus. if confirmed i will work toward
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achieving this goal. mr. chairman the horrific events of 1915 represents one of the worst mass atrocities of the 20th century when 1.5 million armenians were deported, massacred and march to their death in the final years of the ottoman empire. as president trump stated on armenian remembrance this day, such atrocities must not be repeated. if confirmed i must do everything in my power to acknowledge the victims and encourage turkey and armenia to recognize the painful elements of the past. armenia has been a steadfast partner on many fronts and the bond between armenia and the united states are further holstered by the participation by the ds port. i will do everything in my power to strengthen the us- armenian partnership. finally, as a multiple of high danger postings, questions of
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safety and security for american citizens and embassy personnel will have my complete attention and it will be my highest priority dashes priority if confirmed. inc. you for the privilege of a appearing before the committee and i look forward to your questions. >> thank you all i defer to ranking member chairman menendez. >> while i agree to this panel one of the challenges of having a large set of nominees with stumps is an geographic and jurisdictional issues is the ability to ask the question so i see there are other colleagues so i would like to reserve the right to come to the second round. >> sure, absolutely. by the way, thank you for letting us have this near the end of this congress i very much appreciate that. >> thank you mr. chairman. >> >> mr. -- mr. henzel despite assertions there is no that there is no conflict in yemen, we have not seen a robust
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diplomatic strategy and for my perspective we continue to pay only lip service to the special on the ss envoy martin griffiths' effort to bring the parties to the negotiating table hopefully as soon as this week. in fact, the administration has argued about something that the senator is probably considering to remove us forces from unauthorized hostile forces in yemen because of the prospects for new talks under un auspices. we have seen this pattern of hope for new talks followed by spoilers and collapse time and time again. so, can you explain to me very specifically why there is such optimism about this particular set of talks in sweden and what, specifically should the united states be doing? what leverage or conditions should we apply to ensure that this round of talks is
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different from the previously failed rounds of negotiations? >> senator, thank you bars are all very important issues that you raise. you are correct, there is no military solution to conflict and it is a tragedy what has been happening in yemen. the administration is working to end the hostilities. it is supporting the efforts of the un special envoy martin griffiths and it is supporting him by engaging with important parties to the conflict. the humanitarian crisis is a tragedy. millions are at or near starvation. us has put almost $1 billion in alleviating the crisis. the soldering that says the saudis and the mri have made similar efforts but the
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iranians have done nothing to address the crisis but instead has been exacerbating the military crisis. the administration is determined to address the crisis support peace efforts and inshore that the result is not an iranian proxy on the sword and body digest order. >> i hate to interrupt you but my time is limited and i appreciate the overview. i have two specific questions that i would like answered. number one, why is there so much optimism about this particular round of talks compared to the talk when we have passed. >> sir i think it's appropriate to have measured expectations for this immediate round. i think it would be a great success if mr. griffiths were able to get the parties to show up, first of all, which he did
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not do during his last round. he is also dashes has also advanced some confidence building measures in order to get the process started. first of all, a planeload of wounded people has gone to mascot for medical treatments. this is something that griffiths was not able to accomplish last time. it happened this time in no small part because the united states weighed in with a number of the parties most important to the saudi's to make sure that this happened. now that the hoodies have arrived in muscat i am confident the delegation will go to sweden. he has also been pushing for prisoner exchanges as a confidence building measure. i saw in the news today that it appears that one of the first exchanges has actually taken place. so again, i don't think it's
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appropriate to be over optimistic about this immediate first round, but we have seen a couple of small signs of initial progress and i think we have great confidence in this and i think if we can get the parties to show up in sweden this time, there's a prospect of getting the process started. >> that is a much more measured view. the associated press and amnesty international, the un panel of experts in yemen have all issued reports detailing the torture of yemeni detainees by yemeni forces receiving support from the united arab emirates. there are also allegations that the forces themselves have directly participated in the torture and illegally detainees of prisoners. mr. henzel , my staff has told me that you read these reports can you can you confirm that
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you did today? >> no sir, i have not. i have based in riyadh for the past couple of years focused on saudi issues. >> not read these reports? >> i have heard of reports. i have read, i have heard of the un panel of experts' statements from january 2018, i believe. my colleagues in the department, first of all the department is very concerned about these reports and my colleagues in the department tell me they are looking into these in large part, to answer questions from this committee about it. >> well, i would hope that before we confirm you're going to get a chance to read these reports. if you were confirmed, as the ambassador to yemen, what was going to be your role in investigating the allegations of illegal detention and torture?
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>> sir, the department has approached the emma roddy government about this and is seeking answers from them. >> okay, so let me go back to my question. if you were confirmed, you're now the ambassador of the united states or yemen, what you in envision your role, not the departments role, what you envision your role being in this regard? >> if confirmed i will also pursue answers to this question from the government and any places we can look. "i have more questions but i will yield >> mr. hensel in your prepared statement you state that you will further our national interest and you going to list those national security interests. the first us national interest you mention is supporting the un led efforts toward and
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negotiated cessation of hostilities and a comprehensive peace agreement in yemen. why do you believe a cessation of hostilities and a comprehensive peace agreement in yemen is in the national security interest, not just the humanitarian interest of the united states? >> well, sir, the conflict in yemen, first of all is a terrible humanitarian catastrophe. beyond that from the point of view of our security interests, it is to provide an opportunity for iran to advance its gold in the region. their involvement has become more and more worrying with each year of the conflict. so, for that reason alone, i think we have an important interest in seeing a cessation of hostilities and a political sediment that involves all of the parties, including those who are part of yemen. as i mentioned, having a client
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of iran secure on the saudi arabia and border where they could launch missiles whenever it's convenient to iran, with clearly be a serious problem for our national interests. b just to fill in a little bit using your own language, you mentioned iran and how their ambitions in the region could be furthered by the perpetuation of this conflict and destabilization of yemen with forward. you mention in your written testimony, local power vacuums and uncovered spaces that have been created by the civil war, that the terrorist have exploited important partners in the area and you also say that the civil war is complicated or ongoing efforts. so particularly from my colleagues who'd don't get this
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sense of urgency for ending the civil war, let me summarize what the trump administrations nominee has said here today you have testified ongoing conflict in yemen has exacerbated the food shorter supply, creative power vacuums that the terrorist have exploited, facilitated iran's ambitions and complicated our counterterrorism efforts. mr. henzel i won't ask you to comment on the following because i know these decisions are made well above you. however if the ongoing civil war has exacerbated the world's largest food security and creative these power vacuums and creative are the dangers of terrorism, it would seem we should use all available leverage to pressure the combatants to bring the civil
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war to an end. i have been arguing for some period of time, frankly, that we have not done that. we have leverage, particularly with the saudi's and even the national security interest and the civil war is undermining. i still say we should use all of that leverage to achieve a negotiated cessation of hostilities and a comprehensive peace agreement. that is why i and others have repeatedly called for this and in my view we clearly have not used all available leverage with the saudi's. so this is one of my reasons why we have arrived where we have arrived legislatively as a body here the united states senate. and that
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>> have the saudi's ceased dropping bombs in yemen? yes or no? >> not completely, sir, no. there have been, the saudi's they dialed back their military operations, especially -- my understanding is the current situation around there remains
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generally static, there have been exchanges of fire across the line of control. there has been a reduction of the violence. >> so according to local media reports, there have been repeated airstrikes since november 29, including in -- that includes 48 airstrikes yesterday, alone. with unanimous consent, request permission to enter this list of airstrikes. this is a list of airstrikes in yemen, just since -- has been compiled by the un high commissioner for refugees, civilian impact monitoring projects. i don't believe it is in our national security interest to do nothing when our secretaries of state and defense have been so clearly and directly blown off by riyadh. >> think you. senator murphy? >> thank you very much. mister chairman, i'm going to
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come back to you, but i will give you a break for a moment. i wanted to bring ambassador perez into the conversation for a moment. there are going to be some pressing issues that you will be dealing with, should you be confirmed. i wanted to ask you, about a number of reports that have emerged, from senior diplomats, who have given rise to concerns that the trump administration has exacted medical revenge at the state department on career diplomats who worked on president obama's foreign policy , priorities including the iran deal, paris climate accord relationships with cuba, by feeling willing to promote them or by moving them into leadership positions that, that were clearly meant as a signal. about their prior work. i understand the inspector general is probing these allegations today. do you know, do you have any update of the inspector
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general's work on this matter, and do you think that the proper protections are in place, today, to protect our career diplomats from an overtly political agenda, to push the matter damage their careers, given what they have worked on under previous administrations? >> thank you very much for that question. 1st of all, the kinds of things that you're talking about right now are illegal. under both title v and under the foreign service act. we have those protections in place. unfortunately, i do not have an update on where that investigation is, i'm currently serving as the ambassador to chile, that i'm aware of these cases, from what i read in the press, my understanding is there are two different investigations, one for the office of the inspector general, one for the office of special counsel. if confirmed, my job will be to make sure that our employees understand what their protections are under the law, and to make sure that we work with those entities to give the
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documents that they need, and support those investigations going forward. >> if there are recommendations from these reviews to implement those recommendations? >> absolutely. >> think you. -- thank you, in our office thank you for your commitment to this very difficult job, i wanted to raise one additional issue with you. some concerning recent reports from the guardian newspaper has found that weapons from the united states that were given to our partners in the saudi led coalition have ended up in the hands of militias that are linked to al qaeda and isis, these weapons include rocket lockers, grenades, and rifles. we also hear repeatedly from researchers and partners and nonprofits on the ground that the coalition provides arms and financing for radicals groups, militias, that are often the most zealous fighters against
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the houthi's. this is not something the u.s. is engaged in on the ground, this is something that our coalition partners are engaged in on the ground. are you aware of these reports? do we have use requirements that prohibit the transfer of weapons to 3rd-party groups ? what is the u.s. policy toward the coalition support for these dangerous militias inside yemen? >> senator, there are and use requirements in place on weapons that are sold at the department overseas, the u.s. government does check to ensure that those are enforced i have heard of these reports, i understand that they are being looked into, as for extremists on the ground, in yemen, my understanding is there are
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individuals and small groups that are mixed in with some of the groups that the partners are supporting, especially the united emirates. this is something that the u.s. is engaged with, for partners about, and i'd be happy to take the question back to get more details. >> let me just ask, does the administration, or the embassy, have independent knowledge separate and aside from the report in the guardian, that these weapons ended up in the hands of these militia groups? >> i don't know. i can take that question back for you. >> thank you, thank you for your acknowledgment that this is a deepening problem on the ground, not something that we talk about enough in the context of the war inside yemen, this is happened in syria, this has clearly happened in afghanistan, time and time again, when we give
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weapons to people that we think are on our side, they end up getting into the hands of people that we are doing battle with. if that's happening inside yemen, the weapons that we are providing to the saudi coalition are ending up in the hands of groups aligned with al qaeda and isis it is more and more evidence that we need to get out of this partnership as quickly as possible. >> think you, senator kane. >> i appreciated the opportunity to dialogue with you earlier, the fact that you have served once in yemen, 97 to 99, that your service in riyadh makes you a good candidate for this position. one of the issues we talked about in my office was making sure that we have a meeting of the minds about the cause of the civil war in yemen. i don't want to put words in your mouth, but my understanding is, while iran is engaged in a lot of activity with the houthi's, that we would be opposed to, just as
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they are engaged in other activity in the region, we would be opposed to. we just did a letter yesterday about prisoners being held by iran, including americans. the civil war in yemen is driven, there is an origin -- origin to that war, which is the houthi's dissatisfaction as a minority with the way they are being treated by the government. that is the origin of the civil war, whatever iran's participation in it is. would you agree with me in that statement? >> sir it's a long story going back, the origins of the houthi's, their very 1st beginnings they had grievances with the regime and their position in yemen, they turn to violence to address those problems, over the course of six wars between the houthi's and the central government. their strength grew until they were in a position where they were able to overrun the capital. >> and some of their concerns,
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the way they were treated as a minority, and other concerns were corruption by the government, that they objected to, we had a whole series of concerns that were fomenting their dissatisfaction, with the central government. >> at their origins, they had a number of concerns like that. as i said, they turned to violence to address those problems, and touched off a chain of conflicts that has resulted in a terrible situation today. >> iran has been exploiting that division, they exploited the division when a 30% sunni population essentially ruled the 70% shia population, there's dissatisfaction there, and that must be countered. the reason i raise this issue is if i hear the saudi's, and many from his administration, talk about this war in yemen, they act like it's all caused by iran. there's a very dangerous
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blindness, if we look at the problem that way. the war in vietnam, between france and vietnam, was because of a failed colonial project. the u.s. had no equities in that war, in 1954, after the french defeat. we got convinced that it wasn't a colonial issue, that it was a battle against communism, and we took over the failed french colonial project in southeast asia, and it turned into this massive challenge for us. we misread the problem. we didn't recognize that a native population had real concerns about their politics, and we try to interpret it through our lens. i worry that administration policymakers and saudi's are interpreting yemen as if it is just an instance of iranian adventurism. if you look at the problem from that lens, you miss what the problem is. i appreciate the conversation that we had about it, we've got to deal with iranian bellicosity in the region, but
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if we aren't also willing to deal with legitimate grievances of populations that feel like they are under the thumb of a corrupt or unresponsive central government, we are misunderstanding. i will count on you giving our policymakers good advice about that should you be confirmed. i want to say that you, congratulations on your nomination and your service, virginia is a very militarily connected state, we are also up 3500 fs owes who call virginia home. the american public has gotten really good, whatever they think about the status of wars abroad, of sincerely thinking our men and women who serve in the military, but we are not as good at thinking our other civil servants, who serve in difficult positions abroad. many get posted to places they might not have chosen, the get posted in places where they can't take their family, some of you on the panel have taken such posts. i think your work in this new position is very important to have -- advocate for, and some
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of us will help you advocate for the needs of wonderful public servant. i want to ask you, congratulations on your nomination, this is an incredibly important position, i'm very intrigued with the notion of a quad. as our military and other leadership discussed a loose affiliation, military and otherwise, between the u.s., japan, australia, and india. i would like to ask one question as i conclude, offer your thoughts about the utility of this idea in terms of security cooperation and, more broadly, economic cooperation. >> thank you for your question, mister senator. frankly, i need to know more about the quad. i think the, people have been excited about it, excited about the opportunity, they think it should be a priority that i should look at, if i am lucky enough to be confirmed. and certainly, the challenges, the threats, the geopolitical
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competition if you will from china and the region, but i think the quad initiative is one that should be pursued. >> i will remind everybody that the big ten has 12 teams, and the big 12 has 10 teams, so just because calling it a quad doesn't mean we have other nations that want to join in, i would encourage you on that as well. >> just reading a note, i will -- at this point, the witnesses are saying, thank goodness for yemen. >> not that quick. [ laughter ] >> i do want to just say, i know you're in saudi arabia now, we heard the clearest testimony i've ever heard this morning,
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i've been here 12 years, i've never heard, ever, the presentation was made today. there's no doubt in my mind if the crown prince was in front of a jury he would be convicted, unanimously, of murder in 30 minutes. i do hope that, somehow, the administration will find a way to speak to this, i know we will take this issue up, and it ties into yemen, as you know. because of the conflict that is taking place. to allow a crown prince to plan the cutting up of a journalist, to monitor that, to know that for that to go without any statement from the u.s. of condemnation could you share with me about how a culture
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like saudi arabia, that affects a close-knit royal family, and their sense of what they are able to continue to do, once the world knows they've done this, and they move on with impunity? >> a very important issue, the administration has condemned what happened to mister khashoggi, it was an atrocity. it continues to press for accountability, for the persons responsible. i think inside saudi arabia i left a week after these events came to light, but at that point, it seems as if, unfortunately, popular opinion was rallying around the royal family. there was a sense that the
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leadership was being unfairly attacked from outside. whatever that, however that progresses the administration believes that there needs to be accountability for what happened to mister khashoggi. >> thank you very much. forgive me for not being here when the other questions were asked about yemen, but i will go right there as well. just ask for some foremost there's a counterterrorism issue that keeps being talked about, and in the midst of the conflict in yemen between the houthi's and the coalition, and other groups, we heard about that in our classified briefing. in your testimony, you noted
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that the war in yemen has complicated our ongoing counterterrorism efforts. is it possible that, as long as the work continues, al qaeda and the arabian peninsula will find uncovered -- ungoverned space to thrive, and that this is going to create a worse threat? >> i can't predict how the situation will progress but it is definitely the case that the war in yemen, which has been refueled and exacerbated by iranian weapons, has made it more difficult for the u.s. to proceed with counterterrorism goals, mostly in the eastern and southern part of yemen. >> so how would you characterize, right now, the current power position, in yemen? as it relates to this threat to the u.s.? >> a qap remains active in
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ungoverned spaces and southern yemen, the u.s. is engaged with its counterterrorism partners, including in saudi arabia to push back on that threat. there have been a number of notable successes over the past year or so, including the killing of an important leader of al qaeda, this is an effort that the administration will continue, but bringing about cessation of hostilities for the other conflict in yemen, the houthi war, and the establishment of an interim government that can better yemen territory will certainly make the counterterrorism's struggle easier for the u.s. to succeed at. >> i'm sure you heard today for
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my colleagues, this bipartisan concern about the war, about the humanitarian consequences the awful realities on the ground for children and other civilians, and maybe for me, you may have said this already, can you make it clear to me what policy changes you will advocate should you be confirmed that will be different? >> -- >> are you planning a different policy agenda to try to deal with this crisis, that i watched now over many months grow worse? >> senator the administration's policy shaped here in washington, and in consultation with congress, remains to support efforts to bring about a political settlement among the parties in yemen, including the houthi's, and in our
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assessment, the best way to bring that about is to continue to support the efforts of the un special envoy, martin griffiths, and this week he is likely to convene the parties in sweden, they are have already been to important confidence building measures carried out, the transfer of houthi wounded for training -- for treatment, and some discussions about prisoner exchanges, would seem to be bearing fruit. as i said earlier, i think it's appropriate to be cautious about, when assessing prospects for immediate breakthrough as a 1st step, bringing parties together will be more than anyone has been able to do for the past couple of years. >> again, i'm grateful that you are willing to step into what is one of the more urgent humanitarian crises on the planet in the region and i'm
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hoping that as you step up to this important post, that what you said in your answer to me, continues to be the case or, in a more robust way, is the case. which is your willingness to engage with congress. and right now, i have a lot of frustrations with how the administration is engaging or not engaging, and i'm hoping that from your position, you will cooperate with us in sharing information, and using your words, consultation. again, thank you for your willingness to step forward and put yourself up for such an important post, not just the u.s., but for all of humanity there's an indivisibility to human dignity, and the assault on human dignity that are happening in yemen diminish the dignity of this country and humanity as a whole. thank you >> thank you, mister chairman. last wednesday we had a senate floor on the yemen war, and the powers act on the same day,
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secretary pompeo announced $131 million in additional food assistance, for yemen, to be provided through the un world food program, however, that announcement came after the world food program had already raised the alarm that on recent weeks imports have fallen by nearly one half at a time when half of the country's population is on the brink of starvation and when 85,000 children have been estimated to have died from starvation in yemen. how does the administration expect the world food program and other agencies to successfully implement food distribution with this new funding, without also sufficiently addressing humanitarian access constraints , by parties to the conflict including u.s. allies, the saudi's, how do we do that?
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how do we get there cooperation? you can say that will you will send in the food, the kids are dying, but we have other countries who are allegedly our allies who have not been cooperating. and in fact, are the cause of the problem. >> you are absolutely right, that humanitarian access and access for commercial goods is of utmost importance giving the horrible humanitarian situation in yemen. when problems have come up from time to time, over the last couple years, like the one you just described the administration has engaged with the un, with the saudi's, with any party we could, in order to try to straighten out these bottlenecks. the administration was engaged last week over some difficulties i'm not familiar with the
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news you just mentioned, but i'm sure that the administration at senior levels will be engaging with the saudi's if they are the source of the problem. the american embassy in riyadh also engages regularly with the saudi officials who manage these permits, and i'm sure they will be doing that as well. >> my wife required as a two star admiral, and we have been the chief of behavioral medicine at the national institute of health, she always tells me that individuals and countries are the same. you either have reenactment, or reconciliation. my fear here is that it will just be reenactment, but you can say we will send in the food, but if the saudi's are not going to cooperate, then we will just see a further exacerbation and reenactments. without firm commitment by our government to ensuring that
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these countries get out of the way, so we can get to these kids, we will just see a dramatic additional increase in unnecessary deaths and without access, it just is not going to work. this concept, i like the concept. 80% of life is execution. if we can't pull this off, we can't get in there. it will just wind up with additional futility. we have high expectations this problem is going to be alleviated, and not exacerbated. on armenia, my question seems it's unlikely, on how we refer to the armenian genocide how will you address called by the armenian community to call with the 1915 slaughter was a genocide?
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>> senator, thank you for that question. let me be absolutely clear. the trump administration and i, personally acknowledge the historical facts of what took place at the end of the ottoman empire. the mass killings the forced deportations and marches, that ended one and a half million lives and a lot of suffering. if confirmed, i will do everything in my power to acknowledge and respect the losses, and the suffering, and commit myself to participating in any remembrance activity. >> it's time for us to stand up and call it what it was. it helps us in the future to have credibility. the peaceful transport of power in may 2018 presented an
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opportunity, which has been a poor track record in the previous government. what are we going to do to support the armenian government in promoting reforms, either diplomatically or through our assistance? >> senator, thank you for that question. it was a very remarkable moment, what happened this past spring, to see a peaceful transition of power, and since then we have mobilized three -- resources to focus on areas fighting corruption, which is a place where this new government has also set a high priority and we are working to try to assist them on that continuing to strengthen civil society, where we have a long record in armenia, and wear that played an important role in what happened this past spring.
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supporting an independent media, these are three areas that help maintain accountability i think the checks and balances that are necessary, in a democratic society, so those are the areas where we are going to work to help support the democratic aspirations of the armenian people. >> armenians in america, maybe the most successful acne -- ethnic group, we want to make sure that the armenians who stay can enjoy all of their god- given abilities as well, and i think that we have to continue to that for reform. >> thank you mister chairman, let me ask all the nominees, 1st, the question i would like a verbal response to. will you provide this committee and members thereof with a timely, honest and candid response to inquiries that are put to you, either an
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ambassador nominee and situation on the ground or if you are heading a department with reference to the jurisdiction of your departments. give me a verbal answer to that. >> yes, senator. >> yes, senator. >> yes, senator. >> yes, senator. >> yes, senator. mike i appreciate that, because for us to determine what is the right foreign-policy anyplace in the world, having an honest assessment of what's going on is critical. i know that while you are nominated by the president, you are advised and consented to by the u.s. senate. therefore, you work for the whole of the american government, and its important -- let me turn back to you, mister hensel i am perfect ethnic perplexed, and i have given our government and the saudi's the benefit of the door -- doubt,
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about our assistance to them under the guise that we would create less humanitarian consequence as a result of our military assistance to them, and our strategic information to them, as to how they go about their missions why is it, since you have been in charge of the affairs, why is it that you think that they cannot capture that and succeed at doing it? is it a lack of will, is it a lack of capacity, experience, what is it? it's hard to see that the bombing of a school bus is somehow another civilian target of perfection of what we are doing. >> yes, sir. you are right, the civilian casualty instant -- incidences are unacceptable. even one would be, and the fact that there have been a chain of them is a tragedy. the u.s. military has attempted to assist the saudi's with
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their targeting procedures, there overall operations i've seen a lot of this work taken place, i believe there have been some results, but clearly the results are not adequate yet, and the administration to committing -- to press the saudi's to ensure there are no more of these incidents. you ask why there has not been an improvement, my impression for being there is while the operational levels of the saudi military have taken on board the lessons they have gotten from the u.s. military and through their own desire to avoid more of these problems, there still a lack of discipline in some parts of the saudi command structure, and they sometimes bypass all the
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good procedures that they have set up. we often find that that is at the root of these -- >> when you bypass the procedures and there's no consequences for bypassing, then you allow that bypassing to go on with impunity, at the end of the day. >> let me turn to ms. tracy. you acknowledge that from 1915 to 1923, nearly 1.5 million armenian men, women, and children were killed by the ottoman empire? >> yes, senator. as i stated, the administration and i acknowledge the historical facts that you have mentioned. >> you can keep your microphone on, i have a series of questions for you. you acknowledge that on may 24, 1915, the allied powers of england, france, and russia, jointly issued a statement explicitly charging, for the 1st time ever, another government of committing crimes against humanity and civilization? >> senator i'm not aware of
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that particular event. >> i commend it to your attention, and you will give me a written response after you read it. to acknowledge that the u.s. holocaust memorial council, an independent federal agency, unanimously resolved on april 30 1931, that the u.s. holocaust memorial museum with document the armenian genocide, the armenian genocide in the museum, and has done so through a public examination of the historic records? >> senator, i will provide a written acknowledgment. >> you acknowledge that henry morgan feld, the u.s. ambassador to the ottoman empire at the time, said that the turkish government's deportation order for the armenians was a death warrant to a whole race and an aim which they made no particular attempt to conceal inner discussions. >> yes, senator, i acknowledge
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the fact of that reporting of ambassador morgan. >> would you discipline or otherwise punish an employee of the u.s. embassy in armenia for an honest remembrance of the armenian genocide? >> senator, i would expect that, as with myself, we follow the policy of the administration and the policy is that we acknowledge the historical faxed of the events of 1915, as a mass atrocity and that we participate in any remembers activities, and i will just say a senior leader in the foreign service, i am always open to debate on my team i don't punish people for expressing their viewpoints, but as members of the executive branch, at the end of the day,
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we support the president's policy. >> this is the problem, with the nominees who come before us. this is your particularly. that, in fact we have a historical reality. 1 1/2 million people were massacred. that's a genocide. get, we send an ambassador to a country, we have them go to a memorial of a holocaust, of the armenian people and they won't be able to call it a genocide. ironic. we are not able to acknowledge the past we are destined to relive it. so i hope the department, this is not unique to this department, has been going on for a while. we need to change that reality. this, i gave you a series of questions because i'm trying to give you all the other elements, the reality is that
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we cannot have the words come out of our lips, off of our lips, armenian genocide. that's what took place. that's what history shows. that's what the world recognizes. that's what our federal agencies recognize, like the holocaust museum. i hope that you will look at those of the questions and give me answers to get to a better place. there is some effort for u.s. armenia tax treaty, i hope that you will work to advance the negotiation of this accord to help promote transparency and protect u.s. investors from the threat of double taxation if you're confirmed. >> senator, if confirmed, i will be pleased to look further into this issue, my understanding is that the lead federal agencies, the treasury department, office of tax policy, but i will certainly be happy to look into this issue further with the treasury. >> it is, but as the
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ambassador, if you promoted, then we will move it along. i hope you will do that. >> now, i want to follow up on questions that mister murphy raised with you. i have asked the state department for a series of information, emails, memos, and other information, with reference to the targeting of career employees for retaliation of their perceived political beliefs, and other elements of which i have not received, which is a legitimate oversight of this committee. no different than when we had been godly hearings and a host of others in the past. in the absence of receiving that, i will continue to hold nominees until i can get a response. having said that do you agree, if you're to be confirmed, that
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any such targeting of career employees, whether for perceived political beliefs, ethnic origin, or association with prior policies is a legal -- illegal under federal law? >> senator, i keep on -- i do agree. >> what will you do to communicate to the offices within your purview that any such targeting or retaliation is unacceptable, and how will you ensure that the appropriate retargeting or retaliation is not occur? >> i believe communication is critical in this regard. we have to make sure the employees of the state department understand what are prohibited for those practices. i think that would be my role, if confirmed, to do that, and to make sure that our employees know where they can go if they believe that their rights have been violated. as we discussed earlier today, the office of the inspector general and the office of the special counsel our communities that would look at that review. there's also an accountability
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part of this that should be addressed, and once we have the results of those to deal with accountability. >> i think i heard your answer to senator murphy, i just want to make sure. you are committed to implementing, if you're confirmed, any of the recommendations put out by the instructor general, the special counsel? >> again, i don't know the specifics of the cases right now, but yes, generally, the recommendations made by the office inspector general are taken very seriously by the department. and will be committed to responding to this. >> okay. responding to, doesn't mean up lamenting. >> sir, to implement those questions, absolutely. i don't know what they will say, i just don't know if i have the indoor attachment authority to do that. >> i appreciate that. within your authority. >> within my authority. >> one more question. i have, for years, in my 26 years of doing foreign-policy between the house and senate had a real challenge with the
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state department's lack of diversity. and, america's foreign service should look like america. in gender and race, and ethnicity. what will you do to work as soon as this comes under your authority, to make the state department more diverse than it is today? it's one of the worst in the federal agencies that we have. >> i couldn't agree more. as i said in my statement, the state department looks different than when i joined, but we are not doing a good enough job, especially at the senior level. we have to be able to weave diversity into the fabric of our entire lifecycle of talent management. it starts with recruitment, but it continues through promotion, succession planning, the entire talent management cycle. i can tell you, as chief of admission, i work with a diverse group in san diego, i'm a better ambassador because of that, i have a better mission because of that. we have people of different experiences, different opinions, we will represent the
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u.s. government. my job is going to be able to make sure people understand why diversity is important, it has to be a part of everything that we do. >> i appreciate that. i wonder if you understand the interplay with australia and china. and the influence that china has , and the activities with china that is taking place in australia to influence elements of australian society. could you give me a sense of that, and how is it that we put our relationship, which started off rocky under the administration in a way that promotes australia as a critical partner in this part of the world, especially with a rising china that seeks to
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exert its influence throughout that region, in a way that seeks dominance at the end of the day. >> yes, senator. is an excellent question, excellent point, and other members of the committee have mentioned it as well the fact is, china is australia's largest trading partner, and that gives it outsized influence and outsized opportunities to a nation that is already aggressive, and i know that from my commercial experience, representing companies, u.s. companies in asia specifically, the australians have recognized some of the aggressive efforts to influence then have done some housecleaning of past a mystic that led -- legislation, creating a counterpart of our foreign agent registration act, they have cte and high wall
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have been denied the opportunity to participate in certain investments, there has been an investment by a hong kong company that is an energy sector that has been denied, so i think the australians are already quite sensitized to it, but just let me say that i view the strategic and security relationship between the u.s. and australia to be strategically critical, and i will be, if confirmed, will make an assessment of efforts by 3rd parties to undermine that relationship, and if there are such efforts, including china, i will not refrain from forthrightly reporting same up the chain of the department and to speak publicly if and as required. >> finally you will forgive
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me, but you are not going to the world's worst assignment. this row is incredibly important in the western hemisphere. i have serious concerns about where we are headed in hemisphere. i have serious concerns, as i expressed to the administrator, about the continuing part of our mission in democracy and human rights. we see it backsliding in democracy and human rights in hemisphere, we see it in venezuela, long-standing as well as the realities of what is going on in nicaragua. that is not it and and of itself. we have a series of movements across the hemisphere of changing constitutions under the guise of having a democratic process, only to give people who dashed me continuing to stay in power for longer periods of time. so our mission on democracy and
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human rights is critical, we constantly see budgets that are sent to us that would dramatically cut those elements i want to hear from you, if you're confirmed will you be an advocate for these provisions of our portfolio that are critical to the national security of the u.s.? >> think of your question, senator. i share your belief of the importance of these funds, these activities there -- furthering the national interest. if i didn't believe this to be the case, i wouldn't have accepted the nomination. it's a great honor to be nominated to lead the men and women in carrying out this work. i can without hesitation commit to you that any funds coming to me from the u.s. congress to expand freedom, prosperity and democracy in hemisphere, i will ensure that they are spent in an efficient manner and will advocate for this work within
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the process of the administration. >> as an example of that, one of our challenges, i have a series of other questions which i will submit for the record, and i will ask you -- not to belabor the point, but give me a substantive answer. >> central america. a perfect example of our own national -- >> not being a good neighbor. >> our own national interest, and national security. the reason that people flee central america, they have a choice. stay, and i, or see my daughter raped, or see my son forcibly put into a gang. or flee, and take a chance at living. until we change the dynamics of those countries, we will continuously have those challenges. so iad's mission, in part, in governance, and institution building, in democracy and human rights in those countries,
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are critical for our own interests in our long-term. elements. i hope that if you are confirmed, you will be an advocate of that, because i think it's critically necessary for us to change the dynamics of what we see at the border, as a result of the realities of what's happening on the ground. >> thank you, senator. i will be an advocate for that. there is a difference between what we are seeing in the border, and what you mentioned is going on in the country's. i've always advocated for going for root causes, and it's the root causes that obviously, the drivers between all kinds of migration, if confirmed, i will absolutely be working, i'm heartened by data some data in el salvador that where iad worked closely with the state department, they have worked drop homicide rates, and interestingly enough with a
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drop homicide rates in 07 tour, what we are seeing in the border is less salvadorans coming into the border. while that may not be replicated in the western highlands in guatemala and honduras, there may be some best practices there. i agree with you wholeheartedly on the need to go to the root causes. >> thank you. >> absolutely. thank you for being here, i'm going to ask one question, and the rest of them i will do in writing. to make it easier for you, and those who are with you. to miss perez, section 404, the department of state authorities act, 2017, requires a secretary of state to establish a three your pilot program for lateral entry into the foreign service that targets midcareer and the private sector. this was something that we push for, and we can enhance the department in a very positive way. this is months overdue, as the statute requires, and i want to have your commitment that -- is
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required by law. >> think you, senator. yes. my understanding is that because of the hiring freeze, this program is that has not been implement it, i do look forward to working with you and the committee about what this program might look like, we need to get the best people we can find it's a very complex world we live in, and we need to work creatively and innovatively, at how we staff. i look forward for the discussions on this. >> think you. we will keep the record open until the close of business on thursday i would hope that there would be some miraculous way to have a markup before we leave here, i don't know how her leaving here, but hopefully the process that you went for two repeater -- will make you more prepared for the assignments you have out coming, thank you again for your desire to serve our country in this way, for your families in
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supporting that, and with that, the meeting is adjourned.
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>> c-span washington journal, live, every day, with news and policy issues that impact you. coming up friday morning, hudson institute michael pillsbury talks about u.s. china trade policy, and last week's g 20 meeting. then, we will discuss the us- mexico canada trade agreement, with the wall street journal's william alden, and center forest -- for strategic and international studies, be sure to watch c-span washington
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journal, live at seven eastern, friday morning join the discussion. >> after washington journal, we will take you to the sender for a new american security in washington dc. for discussion with virginia senator mark warner. he is the vice chair of the senate intelligence committee, and is expected to talk about cyber threats in his keynote address. that is live at 10:30 am eastern, on c-span. in the afternoon, federal reserve board governor will talk about the economy and financial stability. watch it live at noon, eastern, on c-span two. next, on c-span three carl schultz, the commandant of the u.s. coast guard, looks at the american presence in the arctic. and its importance for national security. from the national press in washington dc, this is an hour.
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>> welcome to the national press club. the place where news happens. i'm andre, an editor with bloomberg news, and i am the hundred 11th president of the national press club. before we get started, i would like to remind you all to please silence your cell phones. if you are on twitter, we encourage you to tweet, during the program, and please use #npc live. now, i would like to introduce our head table, these hold your applause until everyone has been introduced. when i say your name, head table guest, please stand up. from my left, and you are right, we have heather weaver, a freelance journalist and a member of the national press club headliners team.
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we have eric meltzer, a member of the national press club board, and senior news production specialist with the associated press. we have william cassidy, senior editor of the journal of commerce. petty officer nina stewart a public affairs specialist, for the u.s. coast guard. we have the editor of defense and aerospace support, we have lieutenant commander justin smith, a military aid to the commandant of the u.s. coast guard. coming for my right, we have chuck, the president at seneca park llc and a member of the national press club headliners team. we have tom young, the 2nd vice commander of the national press club's american legion post 20. we have master chief jason bader heyman, the master chief petty officer of the u.s. coast
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guard, we have john donnelly, a senior writer at cq roll call the chairman of the national press club press freedom committee, and president of the military reporters and editors association. skipping over our guests for a moment, we have retired navy captain and the national press club headliners member who arranged today's event. thank you all for being here, and thank you all for being here. >> [ applause ] >> i would also like to acknowledge some additional members of the headliners team who are responsible for organizing today's events. betsy fisher marshon, lisa matthews, lori russo, tamra hinton, bill lord, denise elmont --'s helmet, and press club staff, including lindsay


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