APThe U.S. Senate confirmed the Bush administration's nominee as ambassador to Armenian after a delay by lawmakers who were unhappy with White House policies on the country.
Lawmakers had delayed consideration of Marie Yovanovitch's nomination to Armenia in a dispute over the U.S. refusal to label as genocide the World War I-era killings of huge numbers of Armenians. The issue had come up in the nominee’s confirmation hearings.
Armenian-American groups have sought to force the adminsitration to change its policy on the Armenian killings. The administration has avoided the word genocide out of concern of alienating its ally, Turkey.
Historians estimate that up to 1.5 million Armenians were killed, an event widely viewed by genocide scholars as the first genocide of the 20th century. Turkey denies that the deaths constituted genocide, saying the toll has been inflated, and that those killed were victims of civil war and unrest.
In August, the White House withdrew its nomination of career diplomat Richard Hoagland after Democratic Senator Robert Menendez held up his confirmation through a Senate procedure.
Hoagland's predecessor, John Evans, reportedly had his tour of duty in Armenia cut short by the administration because, in a social setting, he referred to the killings as genocide. Armenian-American groups sought to prevent Hoagland's nomination unless he made a clear statement affirming the genocide.