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tv   Senate Foreign Relations Confirmation Hearing  CSPAN  December 4, 2018 2:32pm-4:18pm EST

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be done there, that the house wanted to increase the work requirements. it looks like we're going to go with the senate version next week in the conference report. so we'll continue to work in a partnership with the federal government on whatever action is taken and finalizing that bill. >> this is our next call from michigan. this is rico. hello, you're on, and you work in agriculture. good morning. >> caller: yeah, hi. i was wondering if you could speak about any changes in the industrial hemp industry? is it going to be rescheduled from a schedule i narcotic? will there be crop subsidies? can we export some products? and will we be able to do banking in the hemp industry? >> thank you. you have hit a hot spot, a new value added production for agriculture that i think is going to provide a future for
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new products and new process for farmers. so thanks for asking about it. >> every day at 7:00 a.m. eastern. we'll take you live now to the senate foreign relations committee. they're getting set to hold a confirmation hearing for the director general of the foreign service, the ambassador to yemen, and the ambassador to australia. it's live here on c-span3. >> i'll say one more time, in the past, i have been able to unarrest people when they have been arrested. i no longer have the ability to do that. i would hope that everybody would remain quiet and respectful. we have some outstanding nominees here today that we want to hear from. we're going to hold the nomination hearing for four positions. our nominees today are the ambassador to australia, the honorable carol perez to be director general of the foreign
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service. christopher hensel to be ambassador to yemen. john barsa to be assistant administrator for usaid for latin america and the caribbean. sarah ann lynch to be ambassador to guyana, and lynn tracy to be ambassador to armenia. first, however, we have a very distinguished guest. one of my best friends in the senate, if not the. served our state with distinction in many ways. he's here to introduce a great friend of both of ours, and out of respect for him, so he can go on about other business today, we'll call on him first before we make opening comments. with that, 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's my privilege today to introduce to the committee arthur b. kuld ahouse jr., and i'm doing to do that by saying a
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few words about him and a few words about the country that president trump has nominated him to be the ambassador to. first, about a.b. kuldahouse jr. he's the most accomplished lawyer i know. and i do not know many of any public servants more accomplished than 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 ten mile, tennessee. that got him off to a good start. then he went to the university of tennessee, where according to professors there, he had the highest grades in finance of anybody, and that lasts 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, as he became legislative
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counsel to howard baker, our senator who later became majority leader of the united states senate. and whose daughter is in the audience today. he became counsel to both john mccain and donald trump during their campaigns as they began to consider vice presidential selections. he was counsel to president ronald reagan while he was in the white house. and in the midst of all 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's had. but they're enough to establish him as 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
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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 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 a.b. kauld ahouse 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
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first fleet was sailing eastward across the atlantic from rio to capetown on the third leg of its ten months long voyage. the fleet carries a cargo of convicts who would have been on their way to georgia in the united states had not the american revolution succeeded in denying the british the opportunity to send their prisoners to america. then he went on. the weeks between our two nations, australia and the united states, have evolved from earliest times. our pioneers like yours were as unlikely a band as one could conceive. your gold rush spilled into ours. 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 of humanities and of civil lib rarierties and now bo us are a melting pot. we read your prose, we speak your poetry, we watch your plays and films. we even watch your terrible
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television dramas. mr. chairman, the english are 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 a.b. is one of the finest public servants we have. i hope he is confirmed rapidly by this committee and by the full 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 he will be, he will have a wonderful experience ahead of him. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you. thank you very much. would you like to say anything? with that, you're welcome to -- we understand you're very, very busy. and would like to leave.
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i would like to also, before opening comments, recognize the fact that darrell issa is here. he's been nominated to be usda head, and at some point, hopefully soon, that will be taken up. today, as i mentioned, we'll consider the nominations of six individuals to serve our nation, both at home and abroad in a variety of important positions. we welcome all of you here, as we did in the back of the room, and thank you for your willingness to serve. thank you very much. first, we have mr. arthur b. kuld ahouse 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 u.s. senator howard baker and for decades, he practiced law with a firm where he's currently chair emeritus and of counsel. there is work on various presidential advisory boards,
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numerous nonprofits and political campaigns. his reputation as a person of integrity and great intellect. it's a personal honor for me that i'm 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 it plays in relation to foreign service, this position is also the chief human resources officer for civil service. thank you. ambassador perez is a career member of the foreign service and currently serves as our ambassador in santiago, chile, where she's been stationed since 2016. having previously served as the u.s. counsel general in milan and principle deputy assistant secretary in the human resources bureau, ambassador perez is
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amply familiar with the bureau she will be heading and brings with her a variety of state department management experience as she takes on her new role. next, we have mr. christopher hensel to be ambassador to yemen. he is also a career member of the foreign service and has completed numerous tours across the middle east. currently serves as deputy chief of mission and our embassy in riyadh, saudi arabia, and as the post to 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 inside the kingdom for the last two years, he brings with him a unique perspective and a wealth of knowledge both of the conflict and of saudi arabia's influence in the country. accepting his disposition is a great responsibility. he will have to navigate the
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political and social complexities of this region in an effort to bring peace to this war-ravaged nation. next we have mr. john barsa to serve as assistant administrator of usaid for latin america and the caribbean. he currently serves as the acting assistant secretary of homeland skurd in the office of public liaison and he previously served in the u.s. army reserves until his honorable discharge in 1996. before joining 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. mr. barsa's family came to this country after fleeing oppression from cuba. he has vast knowledge of latin america and is a fluent spanish
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speaker. as you can tell, i am not. with his background and experience in the private sector y believe he will be an asset to usaid. next, we have sarah ann lynch to be ambassador to the cooperative republic of guyana. as career foreign officer currently serving as senior deputy administrator in usaid's bureau for latin american and caribbean, i believe she has the experience and management skills necessary to serve as head of mission in georgetown. finally, we have lynn tracy to be ambassador to armenia. as a career foreign service officer with deep experience, i believe she will be an asset for the united states and the cau s caucusus. i'll turn to my friend, the ranking member, bob menendez, for any opening comments he wishes to have. >> thank you, mr. chairman. first of all, there's no more room at the table to have the hearing, so we have maxed out on
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the number of nominees who are here. but we congratulate you all. it's a pretty extremely impressive and distinguished panel of nominees from varied backgrounds and agencies. among others, we have a u.s. ambassador, a former counsel 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. hensel, while we have serious challenges all over the world, i expect that you may receive more attention than some of your colleagues on this panel. as our deputy chief of mission in riyadh for the past three years, you had a front-row seat to the crisis in yemen. you understand the dynamics, the stakes, the key actors, and i hope you'll be able to provide us some insight into the trajectory of u.s. 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 assess to be our objectives and our specific diplomatic and political tools for achieving
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them. with more than 10,000 people dead, 14 million people on the brink of starvation, millions displaced and suffering, the status quo is not tenable, and we need some strong diplomacy. so we look forward to your insights. the ambassador to armenia is a very important position of great interest to me. armenia experienced a change in govern earlier this year. and we encourage the continuing strengthening 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 efforts of the minsk process to find a path forward. the kremlin has made nose secret of its agenda to undermine democracies across the world and we must work together to counter such malign 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 long worked to push for an ha honest accounting of the armenian jenicist and anyone who works for the government does so as well. in every session of congress since 2006, i have introduced or cosponsors resolutions affirming the facts of the armenian genocide. when i was the chairman of this committee, i was proud to preside over the first ever passage of an armenian genocide resolution out of the committee. i have also scrutinized nominees to armenia and others in the country. these are motivated by what i believe is a moral imperative for us to recognize the atrocities against the armenian people. i look forward to engaging with you on your views with respect to the genocide this afternoon. next, with mr. barsa, the nominee for latin america and the caribbean at usaid, a region of the world that i have spent a
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lot of time on. if confirmed, he will assume this position in a time of many challenges in the region, from the economic and humanitarian crisis of venezuela to the challenges of insecurity and violence in central america driving thousands to flee to the consolidation of peace in colombia after more than half a century of war. and at a time when the oppressive regimes continue to carry out human rights violations. the assistant administrator's position is an important one, as it requires vision and leadership to carry out the agency's mission of promoting democratic values and advancing inclusive economic growth. i look forward to hearing from you, as well as from sarah ann lynch, our ambassador nominee to guyana, a country with many challenges but also much potential. i'm always pleased that the president has nominated two well qualified candidates for the positions of the ambassador to australia and the foreign
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service. i look forward to hearing from both of them. australia is a key ally. it's instrumental to our diplomatic security and economic success in the indo-pacific and dealing with a rising china, and essential for a well functioning department of state. so we look forward to all of your testimony and having an opportunity to ask you some questions. with that, mr. chairman, i yield back to you. >> thank you. it would be good if you just gave your testimony in the order that we introduced you, and i know you may have some family members that we would love to meet. plus and minus to having six people here today. we have asked you shorten your comments to two and a half minutes, if possible. just to help everyone out. for the last time in front of c-span but a little quicker as you will realize as this moves through, the quicker the better for the nominees. with that again, thank you for
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wanting to present yourself for service in this way. we're grateful to you and knrour families. with that, if you would begin, we would appreciate it. >> yes, sir, mr. chairman. shall i introduce my family to daughters, liz, sarah and ann 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 probe test are not here since they're 3 years old and 1 year old. i'm a lucky person to be arrested by some people i love dearly. chairman corker, senator mendez, it is an honor to testify before the committee and it's the president's nominee to be ambassador to australia, a vital and steadfast ally of the united states. i sit here today in the dirksen
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building on the same floor and a few steps away from where my government service began as chief legislative assistance to senator howard at h. baker jr., a fellow tennesseean. howard took a risk in hiring me out of law school to be his chief legislative assistant. although i was recommended to him by then-tennessee lawyer named lamar alexander. howard later took me with him to the reagan white house where he recommended to president reagan that i would be appointed counsel to the president when howard became white house chief of staff. it was therefore, my rare privilege to work in a white house led by two american presidents, president ronald reagan, of course, and then vice president george h.w. bush whom we honor this week. i very much appreciate senator alexander's introduction. more than that, i appreciate our longstanding friendship.
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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, however, i treasure my three daughters and sarah mills and elizabeth culbahouse. i am thankful if i am confirmed they will continue to support me in this new adventure. the u.s. and off the raaustralin friends since 1969 and they've joined us in every military conflict for the past 100 years. that resonates personally with me as two of my uncles, fathers, brothers served in the u.s. military in world war ii while my father served in europe. i visited the australian war memorial in kembra where i
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learned first hand about the sacrifices australians have made to defend freedom and democracy worldwide including, as i speak today, standing with us in afghanistan and in the campaign to defeat isis. the relationship between the united states and australia is as rock solid as ever, and if confirmed, it will be my solemn duty to ensure that our reliance remains as vibrant and strong as when the ansas treaty was first signed in san francisco. australia is likewise, 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. u.s. exports to australia support 300,000 american jobs
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while american 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 governments and our people so very closely together. thank you. >> thank you. >> go ahead. >> chairman corker, ranking member menendez and distinguished members of the committee. i am honored to appear before you to be director general of the foreign 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 the workforce charged with this critical mission. our civil service will hopfully employ personnel and other colleagues who work at the state department in washington and at 277 posts around the world. secretary pompeo noted in a mission statement diplomacy is not for the feint of heart
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especially in times of challenges. mr. chairman, for over 31 years i've had the pleasure of working with capable and patriotic public servants. these women and men toil at home and abroad in service to our country. they swore an oath to protect the constitution, defend the constitution and often to great sacrifice to themselves and their families. i can think of no higher honor of the recruitment and retention of our personnel. i would like to take a moment to recognize members of my family. my michael al, my daughter resa and caroline and their husbands and i am grateful for their love and support. the secretary noted in this confirmation testimony that his first priority would be setting the mission and empowering our people and to that end on may 15th he lifted the hiring freeze ending the workforce reduction plan. the department is actively recruiting and filling highest priority mission-critical vacati
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vacancies and if confirmed these would be among my top priorities. our employees are self-motivated and committed to the mission, but they've had demoralizing effect and we must work hard to turn this around. mr. chairman, putting our people first, not just about hiring and it is also about retention, professional development, engagement and workplace culture. like the secretary, i believe in fostering a culture of excellence, anchored in performance, accountability and communication. communication begins with listen, but also requires responsiveness and transparency. the secretary has made this a priority and if confirmed i will follow his lead. thanks to your long-standing bipartisan support for building a workforce that reflectses our country's diversity, we have made important progress. today's state department looks and feels very different from the one that i entered in 1987. though we have a ways to go especially in fostering diversity at more senior levels. if confirmed i will work with the members on this committee to build on the progress that we have made. mr. chairman, like our military,
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the state department has an array of skills to meet its mission. our almost 14,000 foreign service employees are a forward-deployed force, doing everything from opening markets to american companies to preventing spread of weapons of mass destruction. on nearly 11,000 civil service personnel are subject matter experts. our 50,000 locally employed staff are the mainstay of the u.s. diplomatic operations abroad, but whatever our position or title, as the 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's security, prosperity 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've had a mixed record of doing so and this must change. the secretary has 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 and if confirmed i am committed 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 trump's fom me. i am grateful to the president for his nomination and to secretary pompeo for his continued trust in confidence. i welcome the opportunity to discuss yemen today. first, i want to publicly thank my amazing wife adrienne and our children blair, brendan and joey. i've had the pleasure of serving as a foreign service officer for 32 years and have spent most of my career on the middle east and the muslim world. i cannot imagine having done this without the support of my family. families are an essential part of the foreign service and they
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share rewards and hardships of foreign service life. mr. chairman, ranking member menendez and members of the committee f confirmed i will work to advance our country's foreign policy and national security interests in yemen. i will work to support the united nations-led effort toward a negotiated cessation of hostilities and a comprehensive peace agreement in yemen to bolster u.s. security cooperation with the yemeni government to foster stability and support efforts to address the dire humanitarian consequences of the conflict in yemen and ensure the safety and security of u.s. citizens and employees under chief of mission authority. if confirmed i will continue the work of my predecessor and engage with the internationally recognized govern the of the republic of yemen now operating inned aen and riyadh. if confirmed i will support the efforts of u.n. special envoy martin griffiths and depress hostilities and begin negotiations toward reconciliations and a
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comprehensive peace agreement and a representative government. it is also imperative that we continue to urge all parties to urge 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 they ceased refueling coalition aircraft after syria notified the united states that it no longer required its assistance. on urging, the saudi-led coalition had the no-strike list into the procedures and stop the use of cluster munitions and changed its role of engagement to incorporate u.s. recommendations and establish the joint incident assessment team. the united states will continue to press the coalition and the republic of the yemen government to minimize civilian casual tees and expand urgence humanitarian efforts throughout the country. the united nations of the mates that 32 million yemenis, 80% of
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the population, and the united states is ng moo the top donors to yemen providing $697 million since fy-2018 which includes nearly $131 million in additional emergency food assistance the secretary announced on november 27th. a unified and prosperous yemen at peace with itself and its neighbors is critical to the security of the gulf region and to safe navigation. the united states will continue to lead the international community's response to mitigate the humanitarian crisis while helping to build a stronger foundation for durable peace. chairman corker and ranking member menendez, i am grateful to appear before you today and look forward to answering your questions. >> thank you. mr. barza? >> chairman corker and ranking menendez and distinguished members of the committee. i am honored to appear before
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you today as nominee for assistant administrator for latin america and the caribbean forusaid. i am deeply grateful to president trump for the support and con fidness they've placed in me with this nomination. if confirmed i look forward to working with the congress to make sure that they advance u.s. national security and geopolitical interests. as i begin my remarks i would like to recognize the outstanding leadership of sarah lynch seated with me and steve who has headed up usaid's bureau for the past two years. thanks to their efforts the bureau has been able to continually and successfully function in sometimes challenging times. i would also like to take this opportunity to thank 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 who grew up amongst immigrants from throughout the western hemisphere, my understanding of the forces that defy people the ability to live in freedom, prosperity and safety in their
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own countries isn't 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 u.s. army reserves for almost a decade as a congressional staffer working in the u.s. house of representatives and an executive branch of the department of homeland security, i've always appreciated the ability of an individual to make a difference. if confirmed by the senate, the charge of performing and leading latin america is a great one. the men and women are engaged in critical work throughout the m hemisphere. if confirmed it would be my responsibility and greatest honor to ensure that each individual in the bureau have the guidance and resources they need to accomplish their mission of furthering the u.s. national interests by ensuring the growth of freedom, prosperity and democracy throughout the western hemisphere. it would be a particular honor to serve under administrator mark green. his unwavering moral compass and
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leadership in the execution of the usaid mission is inspirational. if confirmed i also look forward to working closely and collaboratively with this committee to tackle the scourges of corruption, impunity, failed government ands dictatorial regimes that plague our part of the world. i am humbled by the opportunity being afforded to me as an individual to change for countless individuals in our world. if confirmed i can, without hesitation or reservation, mr j pledge to you they will bring every talent and skill to the challenges to the usaid lac commissioner. thank you for the opportunity to testify before you today, i am honored to be here and i welcome your questions. >> thank you. miss lynch? >> chairman corker, ranking member menendez and distinguished member of the committee. i am honored to appear before you today as president trump's nominee to serve as the next
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u.s. ambassador to the republic of guyana. i am deeply grate of the to the president, secretary of state pompeo for the support and confidence they have place in me. if confirmed i look forward to working with you and the staff and other members of congress on behalf of the republic of guyana. i would like to take this opportunity to thank my husband, dr. kevin healy who is with me here today for his support over the years. our children could not be here, but i would like to thank them, mariah, drake, the u.s. army national guard and i am extraordinarily grateful for the encouragement of my mother evelyn of world war ii's cadet nursing corps and army veteran of world war ie. my passion for international affairs was sparked years ago when i was accepted into the u.s. peace corps. i was honored to serve in morocco and continued my work in
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international affairs as a usaid service officer and in bangladesh, peru, afnd iraq and the caribbean. having served over half my career working on issues in latin america and the caribbean i am particularly honored to be considered for this region that is near ask dear to my heart. if confirmed i would promote u.s. values and represent guyana, a melting pot of ethnic as we steeek to support guyana it emerges as a petroleum producer and reciprocal bilateral investment and work with the people to build upon gains and democratic governance and the rule of law and citizens security and a prosperous guyana would be a key ally for the united states for years to come in the region that we share. this is a particularly momentsous time for guyana, a time that the world bank
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currently identifies as middle income. however, the discovery of reserves of oil in recent years could alter the equation for this small nation. as such, it is critical that the country not fall into the trap of the resource curse. guyana must continue to look for opportunities to diversify its economy, improve its governance and strengthen its civil 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 explaining with the country of guyana. if confirmed i will work closely with the regional partners to broaden our engagement over the 2020 strategy. finally, as a matter of the highest priority i will strive to protect mission personnel and chairman corker, ranking member menendez and committee members. i thank you all again for the opportunity to appear before you today and i welcome your
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questions. thank you. >> thank you, miss tracy. >> mr. chairman, ranking member menendez and distinguished members of the committee i am honored to appear before you today as president trump's nominee to be the next u.s. ambassador to armenia. if confirmed i pledge to work closely with this committee and all members of congress. i am pleased to be joined today by my mother carol sue tracy and my sister anita jepsky. i'd like to thank them as well as other family members who could not be here today. i particularly want to acknowledge my father albert trace wh tracy who passed away three weeks ago who was a constant source of strength and who was so happy when my nomination was announced. throughout public service my family's support has meant everything to me during some very tough and dangerous assignments. mr. chairman, the overall goal of our armenian policy remains a
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democratic and prosperous armenia in peace with its neighbors and we continue to a film 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 to the streets with determination but without vile tones hold their government accountable. like many others i was heartened to see a peaceful transition of power. armenia still has work ahead to cement the gains of the past six months. if confirmed i would continue our efforts to support the democratic aspirations of the armenian people, and we are grateful for the assistance from congress that has made a lasting impact on armenia's lasting government and economic tran transition. >> it is an essential for a secure and prosperous future for armenia and the south caucuses. if confirmed i will support the administration's commitment to
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achieving this goal. mr. chairman, the horrific events of 1915 represent one of the worst mass atrocities of the 20th century when 1.5 million armenians were deported, massacred and marched to their detective the in the final years of the on the man empire. as president trump stated on armenian remembrance day, such atrocities must not be repeated. if confirmed i must do everything in our power to acknowledge and reccen what the painful elements of the past. >> armenia has been a steadfast partner on many fronts and the bonds between armenia and the united states are further bell on terbolstered by the diaspora. i will do everything in my power to strengthen and deepen the u.s.-armenian partnership. finally, as a veteran of high-danger postings, questions of safety and security for american citizens it will have
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my complete attention and will be my highest priority if confirmed. mr. chairman, thank you for appearing before the committee and considering my nomination. i look forward to your questions. >> i defer to chairman menendez. >> one of the challenges of having a large set of nominees with substantive geographic and jurisdictional issues are questions, i would like to reserve the right to come to a second round because i don't think i'll get to my questions. >> sure. absolutely, and by the way, thank you for letting us have this near the end of this congress. i very much appreciate that. >> thank you mrshgs chair. >> mr. hensel, despite assertions, there's no military assertion to the conflict in yemen. we have not seen an investment in a robust, diplomatic strategy
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and we, from my perspective continue to pay lip service to the support of the u.s. or u.n. special envoy, martin griffiths efforts to bring the parties to the negotiating table as soon as this week. in fact, the administration has argued something that the president is considering to remove u.s. forces from hostility in yemen because of talks under u.n. auspices. but we have seen this pattern of hope for new talk followed by spoilers and collapsed 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 episure that this round of talks is different
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from the previously failed rounds of negotiations? >>. >> senator, thank you. those are all very important issues that you raise. you're correct. there is no military solution to the conflict and it is a tragedy what's been happening in yemen. the administration is working to end the hostilities. it is supporting the efforts of the u.n. special envoy martin griffiths and it is supporting him by engaging him with important parties to the conflict. the humanitarian crisis is a -- is a tragedy. millions are at or near starvation. the u.s. has put 11 million in alleviating the crisis and the saudis and emirateis have made similar efforts. iranian has done nothing to address the humanitarian side of
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the crisis, but instead has been exacerbating the military crisis with a wide range of weapons that range up to ballistic missiles and advanced uavs. the administration is determined to both address the humanitarian crisis, support peace efforts and ensure that the result is not an iranian proxy on the southern border of saudi arabia. >> i don't mean to interrupt you, but my time is limited, and i appreciate the overview which i know. i had two specific questions which i'd like answered. number one, why is there so much optimism about this particular round of talks compared to the past when we've had failures? can you give me insight into that? i'll start there and then i'll move to the next one. >> 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 the houthis did not do during his
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last round. dwrif i griffiths has advanced confidence building measures in order to get the process started and actually a couple of those have come about. first of all, a plane load of wounded houthis has gone to moskat for medical treatments and this is something griffiths was not able to accomplish last time. it happened this time because the united states weighed in with a number of the parties and more importantly the saudis to make sure that this happened. so now that the houthis have arrived in ameri arrive in moskat their delegation will go to sweden. it's 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 appropriate to be overoptimistic
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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 griffiths and i think if he can get the parties to show up in sweden this time there is a prospect of getting a sub standist process started. >> that's a more measured view of the talks. >> let me ask you this. the associated press, human rights watch, amnesty international and the u.n. panel on yemen have detailed reports describing the torture of yemeni detainees by yemeni forces receiving support from the united arab emirates. at times the uae forces themselves have directly participated in the torture of yemeni detainees and the network of secret prisons. >> mr. hensel, my staff has told me that you read these reports? >> can you confirm, today, that
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you did so? >> have you read these ort reports. i've been bay based in riyadh in preparation for these issues. >> in preparation for this, you have not read the reports? >> i've heard of the reports. i've read the -- i've heard of the u.n. panel of experts' statements from january of '18, 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 that 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 the legal detention and torture? >> sir, the department has
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approached the emiraty government about this and is seeking answers from them. >> okay. so let me go back to my question. if you were confirmed, you are now the ambassador of the united states for yemen, what do you n envision your role, not the department's role, what do your envision your role in this regard? >> sir, if confirmed i would pursue answers to this question from the emrati government. >> i have more question, but i yield to my colleague. >> thank you, senator. mr. hensel, in your prepared statement you write, quote, if confirmed i'll advance to advance the key national security interest in yemen, unquote, and you go on to list the foreign national security and foreign policy interests. the first national security interest you mentioned is
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supporting the u.n.-led efforts toward a negotiated cessation of hostilities and a peace agreement in yemen. why do you believe in cessation of hostilities and a peace agreement in yemen which is the national security interest and not just the hume an tearian security interest of the united states? >> cirque the conflict in dwlye is a terrible humanitarian catastrophe, and beyond that in our security interests is provide an opportunity for iran to advance its goals in the region. iran's 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 settlement that involves all of the yemeni parties including the houthis who are part of yemen.
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furthermore, as i mentioned, having a client of iran secure on the saudi arabian southern border and where they could launch missiles whenever it is convenient to iran would clearly be a serious problem for our national interests. >> 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 moving forward. you mention in your written testimony local power vacuums and ungoverned spaces that have been created by the civil war that the houthis and terrorists have exploited partners in the region and saudis and others. you also say that the civil war in yemen has complicated counter terrorism efforts. so particularly for my
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colleagues who don't get a shared sense of urgence owe the national security imperative. >> let me read, whthat they've exacerbated the world's largest security emergency. created power vacuumis and know this is redundant and created power vacuums that the terrorists have exploited, facilitated iran's ambitions and complicated our counter terrorism efforts. mr. hensel, i want to 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 emergency and created these power vacuums and created further dangers of terrorism, it would seem we should use all available leverage to pressure the combatants to bring the civil war to an end. i've been arguing for some period of time, frankly, that we
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have not done that. we have leverage, particularly with the saudis and given the national security interest and the civil war is undermining. i still say we should use all of that leverage to a cessation of hostilities and a comprehensive peace agreement. >> that's why i and senator shaheen and others have repeatedly called for this and in my view, we clearly have not used all available leverage with the saudis. so this is one of my reasons why we've arrived where we've arrived legislatively as a body here in the united states senate, and that's why senate joint resolution 54 despite the resolution of the administration is before this body. mr. hensel, on october 30, secretary pompeo issued a statement which you're familiar with on ending the conflict in
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yemen. he called for the houthis to stop missile and uab strikes with whom we have partnered to stop air strikes in populated areas in yemen. on that very same day secretary mattis called for cease-fire in the next 30 days including a ceasing and dropping of bombs. 30 days from october 30 expired on november 29. mr. hensel, given the clear demand of our secretary of state and our secretary of defense have the saudis ceased dropping bombs in yemen? >> senator -- >> yes or no, sir. >> not completely, sir. the saudis and the emiratis dialed back the military operations around houdata. my understanding is the current situation around houdata is
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static. there has been fire along the control there and there has been a reduction in the violence. so according to legal media reports decided by oxfam there have been repeated air strikes since november 29, with sanaa, and that includes 48 air strikes yesterday alone. mr. chairman, with unanimous consent, request permission to enter the air strikes into the record. >> this is a list of air strikes in yemen just since november 29 that's been compiled by the u.n. high commissioner for refugees, civilian impact monitoring project. i won't ask you to comment, mr. hensel, but i don't believe it is in our national security interests to do nothing when our secretaries of state and defense have been so clearly and directly blown off by riyadh. thank you. i yield back. >> thank you. senator murphy? >> thank you very much, mr.
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chairman, a chairman and mr. hensel. i want to come back to you, but i'll give you a break for a moment. i wanted to bring ambassador perez for a moment because there will be pressing issues that you're going to 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 to the trump administration and has exacted political revenge at the state department on career diplomats who worked on president obama's foreign approximately see any priorities including the iran deal and the paris climate accord and thawing relationships with cuba by failing to promote them or by moving them into leadership positions that were, you know, clearly meant as a signal to them about their prior work. i understand the inspector general is probing these allegations today. do you know about -- do you have
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any update of the inspector 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 them out or damage their careers based on what they've worked on under previous administrations? >> senator, thank you very much for that question . first of all the things you're talking about are illegal and they're illegal under title 5 and foreign service act and we have the protections in place. i, unfortunately, do not have an update on where that investigation is, and i'm currently serving as ambassador to chile. i am aware of these cases from what i read in the press and my understanding is there are two investigations and one for the office of inspector general and one for the office of special counsel. if confirmed our job is to make sure that our employees understand what they are under the law and to make sure that we do work with those entities to
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give the documents that they need and to support these investigations going forward. >> is there any recommendations from review to implement the recommendations. >> absolutely. absolutely, senator. >> thank you for your time in my office and thank you to your commitment. i wanted to share one additional issue with you, some concerning reports from the guardian newspaper have 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 launchers, grenades and rifles. we also hear repeatedly from researchers and partners and non-profits on the ground that the coalition provides arms and financing for radical office groups and militias that are often the most zealous fighters
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against the houthis and this is something that our coalition partners are engaged in on the ground. are you aware of these reports? do we have end use requirements that prohibit the transfer of weapons to third-party groups and what is the u.s. policy towards the coalition's support for these dangerous militias inside yemen? >> senator, yes. there are end use requirements in place on weapons that are sold to partners of the united states overseas and the u.s. government does checks to ensure that those are enforced. i'm -- i've heard of these reports. i understand that they're being looked into and for extremists on the ground in yemen. y my understanding is that there
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are individuals and small groups that are mixed in with the groups that partners are supporting including the united arab emirates. this is something that the united states has engaged with our partners about, and i would be happy to take the question back to get more details for you. >> let me just ask you, 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, sir. i can take that question back for you. >> okay. thank you. thank you for your acknowledgement that this is a deepening problem on the ground and it's noting? that we talk enough in the context of the war in yemen. this has happened in syria and this has clearly happened in afghanistan time and time again
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when we give weapons to people that we think are rnts on our side they end up getting into the hands of people that we are, in fact, doing battle with. if that's happening inside yemen today, the weapons that we are providing in the saudi coalition are ending up in the hands with al qaeda and isis. it's more and more evidence that we need to get out of this partnership as quickly as possible. thank you very much, mr. chairman. >> thank you, senator kaine. >> mr. hensel, i appreciated the opportunity to dialogue with you. the fact that you served once in yemen in '97 and '99 and your service in riyadh makes you a good candidate for this position. one issue 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, and 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 houthis, that we would be opposed to just as they're engaged in other activity in the region we would be opposed to.
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senator coons and i did a letter yesterday about prisoners being held by iran including americans and the civil war in yemen is driven where there is an origin to that civil war which is the houthis' dissatisfaction as a minority with the way they're being treated by the origin and around iran's participation in it. would you agree with me in that statement? >> sir, the it's a long story going back and the origins of the houthis and the very first beginnings and they had grievances with the regime and they turned to violence to address those problems over the course of, i believe, six wars between the houthis and the central governments. their strength grew until they were in a position to be over on
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the capitol. >> some of their concerns were the way they were treated as a minority and other concerns were corruption by the government that they objected to. they had a whole series of concerns that were fomenting their dissatisfaction with the central govern the, correct? >> at their origins they had a number of concerns like that, but as i said, they -- they turned to violence to address those problems and touched off a chain of conflicts that resulted in the terrible situation in yemen today. >> and iran has been exploiting that division. they exploited the division in bahrain when a 30% sunni population essentially rules a 70% shia population. there's dissatisfaction and iran moves in to exploit that d dissatisfaction which must be countered. if i hear the saudis and many in this administration talk about the civil war in yemen, they act
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like it's caused by i ra know a iran. 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, but 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 own politics and we tried to interpret it through our lens and i very much worry that the administration policymakers and the saudis are interpreting yemen as if it was an instance of iranian adventurism, and if you look at the problem just from that lens you miss what the problem is and i appreciate the conversation that we had about it. we dealed with iranian
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velicocity, and if we're not willing to deal with populations that under the thumb of a corrupt and unresponsive central government then we'll misunderstand and i will count on you giving our policymakers good advice on that should you be confirmed. i want to say that you and the ambassador, congratulations on your nomination and your service. virginia is a militarily connected state and we have fsos that call virginia home. i think the american public has gotten very good whenever they think of the status of wars abroad and thanking our men and women who serve in the military and we're not as good at thanking our other civil servants who work with difficult positions abroad, they gave post to the places where they can't take their family and some of you in the panel have taken such posts. so i think your work in this new
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position is advocate for the needs of wonderful public servants. >> con graj laegzs on this nom nation and it's a very important leadership of the quad, as we discussed military and otherwise between the united states, japan, australia and india. if i could ask one question, as i conclude, offer your thoughts about the outity tilt of this idea in terms of security operation and more broadly, economic cooperation in the indo-pacific. >> thank you for your question, senator. it's -- i frankly, need to know more about the quad. i think the briefings i've received people have been excited about it, excited about the opportunity. they think it should be a priority that i should look at, if i'm lucky enough to be confirmed and certainly the
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challenges, the threats and the geopolitical competition in china is such that i think the quad initiative is one that should definitely be pursued. >> i will remind everybody that the big ten has 12 teams and the big 12 has ten teams and we can't have other nations that join in and i would encourage you on that, as well. >> well said, sir. >> thank you, mr. chair. >> i'm just reading a note. at this point in time the witnesses are saying thank goodness for yemen. [ laughter ] >> not that quick. i do want to just say, i know you're in saudi arabia now as a dcm.
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we heard the clearest testimony i've heard in 12 years and i've never heard a presentation like it was made today. there's no doubt in my mind that 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 speak to this and i know that we'll take this issue up and it ties into yemen, as you know, because of the conflict that is taking place there. to allow a crown prince to plan the sawing up of -- the sawing up of a journalist to monitor that, to know that and for that to go without any statement from the united states of america of condemnation.
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could you share with me a little bit about how in a culture like saudi arabia how that affects a close-knit royal family and their sense of what they're able to continue to do once the world knows they've done this, and they move on with impunity? >> they are very important issues and the administration has condemned what happened to mr. khashoggi. it was an atrocity, and it is -- it continues to press for accountability for the persons responsible. i think inside saudi arabia, i left about a week after these, vents came to light, but at that point it seemed as if, unfortunately, popular opinion was rallyingevents came to ligh that point it seemed as if, unfortunately, popular opinion was rallying around the royal
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family. there was a sense that the leadership was being unfairly attacked from -- from outside. but however that progresses, the administration believes that there needs to be accountability for what happened to mr. khashoggi. >> senator booker? >> thank you very much. forgive me for not being here when a lot of the other questions were asked about yemen, but i'm going to go right there, as well, and just ask first and foremost really there is a counter terrorism issue that it keeps being talked about and in the midst of the conflict in epien with tyemen and the ho they remain to be potential threats and we heard about that in our classified brief, but to
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hensel, in your testimony you noted that the war in dwryemen complicated our ongoing counter terrorism efforts. is it possible that as long as the war continues al qaeda in the arabian peninsula will find plenty of ungoverned space to thrive, and that this is going to create a worse of a threat? >> senator, i can't predict how the situation will progress, but it is definitely the case that the war in yemen which has been fuelled and exacerbated by iranian weapons has made it more difficult for the u.s. to continue with goals mostly in the eastern side of emen. >> how would you characterize right now the current power of position in yemen? as it relate to the its threats to the united states? >> the uae, sir? >> no. aqap. >> aqap.
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sorry. >> aqap remains active on governed spaces in eastern and southern yemen. the u.s. is engaged with its counter terrorism and partner including the uae and 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 a cessation of hostilities with the other conflict in yemen and the houthi war and the establishment of a -- of an interim government that can better control yemeni territory will certainly make the counter terrorism struggle easier for the u.s. to succeed at. >> and i'm sure you've heard
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today from my colleagues the sort of bipartisan concern about the war, and about the humanitarian consequences, the god awful realities on the ground for the children and other civilians and maybe for me and you may have said this already, but can you make it clear to me, at least, what policy changes you will advocate should you be confirmed that are going to be different from years past? are you planning a sort of a different policy agenda to try to deal with this crisis it now has? i've watched now over many months just 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 which include the houthis and in our
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assessment the best way to bring that about is to continue to support the efforts of martin griffiths. this week, he is likely to convene the parties in sweden. there have already been two important confidence building measures carried out. the transfer of some houthi wounded to muskat for training, excuse me, and for -- some discussions about prisoner exchanges would seem to be bearing fruit. as i said earlier, it's -- i think it's appropriate to be cautious about when assessing the prospects for some immediate breakthrough, but as a first step, bringing the parties together will be more than anyone's been able to do for the past couple of years. >> again, i'm grateful that you're willing to step into what is more one of the urgent humanitarian crises on planet earth with implications for the
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region and i'm hoping that as you step up to this very important post that what you said in your answer to me continues to be the case which is your willingness to engage with congress, and right now i have a lot of frustrations with how the administrations is engaging or not engaging and i am hoping that from your position you will cooperate fully with us in sharing information and using your consultation and thank you for stepping forward and putting yourself up for such an important post, not for just the united states, but all of humanity and there is an indivisiblity to human dignity and the assaults on human dignity happening in yemen diminish the dignity of this country and humanity as a whole. thank you. >> senator markey? >> thank you, mr. chairman. last wednesday we had a vote on the senate floor on the yemen war and the powers act, but on
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the same day secretary pompeo, announced $131 million in additional food assistance to yemen to be provided through the u.n. world food program. however, that announcement came after the world food program had already raised the alarm and in recent week, imports through hodea 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 are estimated to have died from starvation in yemen. how does the administration, mr. hensel, expect the world food program and other agencies to successfully implement food distribution with this new funding without also sufficiently addressing humanitarian access constrains by parties to the conflict including u.s. ally, the saudis,
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the emirateis. ? h you can say to send in the food and the kids are dying and we have other countries who are allegedly our allies who are not cooperating and in fact, are the cause of the problem. >> senator, you are absolutely right that humanitarian access and access to commercial goods is of utmost importance given the horrible humanitarian situation in yemen. when problems have come up from time to time over the last couple of years, like the one you just described in hudata, the administration has engaged with the u.n., with the saudis and with any party we could in order to try to straighten out these bottlenecks. the administration was engaged last week over some difficulties in the port of aden.
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i am not familiar with the news you just mentioned, but i'm sure the administration at senior levels will be engaging with the saudis if they are the source of the problem. the american embassy in riyadh engages rlgly with saudi officials who manage these permits and i'm sure they'll be doing that, as well. >> you know, my wife retired as a two-star admiral and had been the chief of behavioral medicine at the national institutes of health. what she always tells me is that individuals and countries are the same. you either have re-enactment or reconciliation. my fear here is that we'll just go through re-enactment. we can say that we'll send in the food and the saudis and the emirateis are not really going to cooperate we will see a further exacerbation and reenactments. so without firm commitment by
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our government to ensuring that these countries get out of the way so we can get to these kids, we're just going to see a dramatic additional increase in unnecessary deaths and you know, without access, it just is not going to work. so this concept, i like the concept, but that's only 20% of life. 80% of life is execution. so if we can't pull this off we can't get in there, then it's just going to wind up with additional futility. can i just say that to you, mr. hensel that we have high expectations that this problem will be alleviated and not exacerbated. on armenia, my question is it seems unlikely that the trump administration will change its longstanding u.s. policy on how we refer to the armenian genocide. how will you address calls by the armenian community to call what 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 of the mass killing and forced deportations and marches that ended 1.5 million lives and a lot of suffering, and i will -- if confirmed, do everything in my power to acknowledge and respect the losses and the suffering and commit myself to participating in any remembrance in activities. >> it's time for us just to stand up and call it what it was and it helps us in the future to have credibility. the peaceful chance for a power in may of 2018 seemed to present
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an opportunity, but there's been a poor track ridiculous on the previous government. so what are we going do to support the armenian government and promoting reforms either diplomat beingly or through our government in promoting reform, 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 resources to focus on three areas fighting corruption. which is a place where this new government has also set a high priority and we're working to try to assist them on that. finning to strengthen civil society. where we have a long record in armenia.
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i think that played an important role in what happened this past spring and supporting an independent media. these are three areas that help maintain accountability, buttress the checks and balances that are necessary in a democratic society. those are the areas that we're going to work to support the democratic aspirations of the armenian people. >> i hope so, armenians in america who a successful group. we hope that they can enjo i their god-given abilities as well and i think we have to continue to promote the reform. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you, senator menendez. let me ask you all of the nominees first a question i'd like your verbal response to. will you provide this committee and members thereof with a
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timely honest and candid response to inquiries that are put to you either if you're an ambassador nominee, and situation on the ground, or if you're heading a department with reference to the jurisdiction of your department. would you give me a verbal answer to that? >> yes, senator. >> yes, senator. >> yes, senator. >> yes, senator. >> yes, senator. >> yes, senator. >> and i appreciate that. because for us to determine what's the right foreign policy any place in the world. having an honest assessment of what's going on is kit cal. i know while you are nominated by the president, you are advised and consented to by the united states senate. you work for the whole of the american government and it's important for us to know as we have experienced most recently on some issues. let me turn back to you, mr. hencele. i am perplexed that and i have
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given our government and the saudis the benefit of the doubt, but no longer. 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 the charge d charge d'affaires, lack of will, a lack of capacity, experience, what is it? it's hard to see that a bombing of a school bus and other civilian targets is a perfection of what we're doing? >> yes, sir, you're right. these civilian casualty incidents are unacceptable. even one would be and the fact that there's been a chain of them, is a tragedy.
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the u.s. military has attempted to assist the saudis and emiratis with their targeting procedures. their overall operations. i've seen a lot of this work taking place. i believe there have been some results. but clearly, the results are not nearly adequate yet. and the administration is committed to continuing to press the saudis to, to insure that there are no more of these incidents. you asked why there has not been an improvement. my impression from being there is that while the operational levels of the saudi military have taken on board the lessons they've gotten from the u.s. military and through their own desire to avoid more of these problems, there's still a lack of discipline in some parts of
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the saudi command structure and they sometimes bypass all the good procedures that they've set up. and we often find that that is at the root of these new civilian casualties. >> the problem is that when you bypass the procedures and there's no consequences for bypassing and you allow that bypassing to go on with impunity at the end of the day. let me turn ms. tracy, do 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. >> can you keep your microphone on, because i'm going to have a series of questions for you. do you acknowledge that on may 24, 1915, the allied powers of england, france, and russia charged for the first time ever
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and another government of committing crimes quote against humanity and civilization? >> senator, i'm not aware of that particular event. >> commend it to your attention and you give me a written response after you read it. >> yes, sir. >> do you acknowledge that the united states holocaust memorial council, an independent federal agency, unanimously resolved on april 30th, 1981, that the you united states holocaust memorial museum would document the ar mennian genocide through the museum? >> i will provide a written acknowledgement to you of that. >> will you acknowledge that henry morgan thal that'll, the d states ambassador to the ottoman empire that the deportation order to the armenians was a death warrant to a whole race and an aim which they made no particular attempt to conceal in their discussions.
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>> would you punish a 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 facts of the events of 1915. as a mass atrocity. and that we participate in the any remembrance activities, and i'll just say as 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.
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but as members of the executive branch at the end of the day, we support the president's policy. >> this is the problem, with nominees who come before us. it's not you particularly. that in fact, we have an historical reality. 1.5 million people were massacred. that's a genocide. and yet, we sent an ambassador to a country who will have them go to a memorial, of a holocaust, of the armenian people. and yet they won't be able to call it a general side. >> if we are not able to acknowledge the past, we're destined to relive it. so i hope the department, it's not unique to this department, it's been going on for a while. we need to change that reality. it's impossible -- i gave you a
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series of questions because i'm trying to give you all the other elements, the reality is, that 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 own federal agencies recognize, like the holocaust museum. i hope you'll look at the other questions and give me answers in order to get to a better place. there's some efforts for a u.s./armenia tax treaty. i hope you will work to advance the timing of this, to help promote transparency and protect u.s. investors from the threat of double taxation, if you are confirmed. >> senator, if confirmed, i will be very pleased to look further into this issue. my understanding is that the lead federal agency is the treasury department's office of tax policy. but i will certainly be very
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happy to look into this issue further with the treasury. >> it is, but as the ambassador, if you promote it, then we will hopefully move it along. so i hope you will do that. >> yes, sir. >> thank you. >> now -- ambassador perez, i want to follow up on questions that mr. 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 legitimate oversight of this committee. no different than what we had benghazi hearings and a whole host of others in the past. so in the absence of receiving that, i will continue to hold nominees untilky get a response.
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but having said that, do you agree, if you were to be confirmed. that any such targeting of career employees, whether for perceived political beliefs, ethnic origins or association with prior policies is a illegal under federal law? >> senator, i do, i do agree. >> and if confirmed what would you do to communicate to the offices within your purview that any such targeting or retaliation is unacceptable and how will you insure that the appropriate targeting or retaliation does not occur in. >> i believe communication is really critical. senator is really critical in this regard. we have to make sure that the employees of the state department understand what our prohibited personnel practices and 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. and there are -- as we discussed earlier today, the office of the inspector general and the office
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of the special counsel are two entities that would look at that review. there's an accountability part of this that also needs to be addressed. once we have the result of those to deal with the accountability. >> you're committed to implement if you are confirmed, any of the recommendations put out by the inspector general, and the special counsel? >> yes, sir. again i don't know the specifics of the cases right now. but yes, sir, generally the recommendations made by the office of inspector general are taken very seriously by the department. and will be committed to responding to those. >> responding to, doesn't mean implementing. >> sir, yes to implement those questions, absolutely. i don't know if i'll have the authority in the job i'll have. >> within your authority. >> within my authority. >> i have for years in my 26 years of doing foreign policy
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between the house and the senate had a real challenge with the state department's lack of diversity. and -- america's foreign service should look like america. in both gender and race and ethnicity. what will you do to work since this comes under your baili wwi, the state department is less diverse. >> the state department looks a little different today than when i joined. but we're not doing a good enough level especially at the senior levels. we have to be able to weave diversity had throughout our entire liar cycle of recruitment and management. it continues through promotion, succession planning. i can tell you as chief of mission, i work with a diverse group in santiago. i'm a better ambassador because of that. i have a better mission because of that. we have people with different
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experiences, with different pgs pns, we're better able to represent the 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. >> mr., i wonder if you understand the interplay with australia and china. and the influence that china has in australia and the activities that china is actually 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 a little rocky under the administration, in a way that promotes australia as a critical
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partner in this part of the world. especially with a rising china that seeks to exert its influence throughout that region in a way that seeks dominance at the end of the day? >> yes, senator. it's an excellent question, excellent point. other members of the committee have mentioned it as well. the fact is that china is, australia's largest trading partner. that gives it outsized influence, and outsized opportunities to a nation that's already let us say aggressive. and i know that from my commercial experience representing companies, u.s. companies in asia pacific. the australians have recognized some of the, aggressive efforts to influence them have done some house cleaning, of past dmiskt
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legislation. creating a counterpart of our foreign agent registration act. they have zte and have been denied the opportunity to participate in certain investments. there's been an investment by hong kong company that is an energy sector that's been denied. so i think the australians are already quite sense advertised to it. but just let me say that i view the strategic and security relationship between the united states and australia, to be strategically critical. and i will be if confirmed, will make an assessment of efforts by third countries, third parties to undermine that relationship. and if there are such efforts including china, i will not refrain from forthrightly reporting same to the change of the department and to speak publicly if and as required.
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>> finally, mr. barca and ms. lynch you'll forgive me, but you're not going to the world's worst assignments. so -- this role is incredibly important in the western hemisphere. i have serious concerns about where we're headed in the hemisphere. i have serious concerns that i've expressed to the administrator about the continuing part of aid's mission in democracy and human rights. we sue a back-sliding of democracy and human rights in the hemisphere. we've seen it in venezuela, longstanding in cuba. as well as the realities of what's going on in nicaragua, but that's not it in 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 get people
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to stay in power for longer periods of time. so aid's mission on democracy and human rights is critical. we constantly see budgets that are sent to us that would cut those elements. i want to hear from you, if you are confirmed, will you be an advocate for these provisions of aid's poifrl that are critical, i think to the national interest and security of the united states. >> thank you for your question, senator. i share your belief on the importance of these funds, these activities furthering the national interest. if i did not believe this to be the case, i would not accept this 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 members of the committee that certainly any funds coming to me from the united states congress to expand freedom prosperity and democracy in the
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hemisphere i'll insure that they're spent in an efficient manner and i'll advocate for this work within the process. within the administration. >> and as an example of that, one of our challenges and i'll close on this. i have a series of other questions which i'll submit for the record, i'll ask you all to the extent that i have questions sent to you for the sake of timing and your families here, not to belabor it. but give me a substantive answer, please. central america. >> yes. >> perfect example of our own national -- our own national interests and our national security. the reason that people flee central america is they have a choice. stay and die, 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 aid's mission in part, in
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governance and in institution building and democracy and human rights in these countries are critical for our own interests in our long-term element. so i hope that if you are confirmed, you will be an advocate of that. i think it's critically necessary for us to change the dynamics of what we see. at the border as a result of what's happening on the ground in central america. >> thank you, senator, i will be an advocate for that there's a difference between what we're seeing in the border and what you mention is going on in the countries. i've always advocated for going for root causes. it's the root causes that are obviously the drivers between all kinds much migration. and if confirmed i will absolutely be working towards those, i'm heartened by some data in el salvador, where u.s. aid funds work closely with the state department. worked to drop homicide rates and interestingly enough, with
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the drop of homicide rates is we're seeing less sell have a doorens coming into the border while that may not be replicated in the western eyelands of hondurans, there are some best practices, i agree with you on the need to go to the root causes. >> thank you for the courtesy. >> thank you all for being here, i'm going to ask you one question and the rest of them i'll do in writing to make it easier for you and those who are with us. but to ms. perez, section 404 of the department of state authority's act 2017 required the secretary of state to establish a three-year pilot program for lateral entry into the foreign service that targets mid career individuals from civil service and the private sector, this was something we pushed for and we think can enhance the department. and in a very positive wag. this is months overdue.
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as the statute requires and i just want to have your commitment that you'll implement this program as required by law. >> thank you, senator. yes. my understanding is because of the hiring freeze, this program is, has not been implemented. i 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 i think we need to look creatively. and innovatively how hon we staff. i look forward to further discussions on this. >> what we'll do is keep the record open until the close of business on thursday. i would hope that there twob some miraculous way to have a mark-up before we leave here. i don't know when we're leaving here with all of the thingts that have occurred. hopefully the process you went through for the hearing today, will make you even more prepared for the assignment you have yuf
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coming. thank you for your desire to serve our country in this way. and with that, the meeting is adjourned. >> we need an ambassador who is not with the saudis. >> stop war in yemen. >> i oppose this nominee. part of the problem, not part of the solution. [ protesters chanting ]
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>> this is your one and only warning, if you don't stop chanting, you will be arrested. >> everyone has heard that warning, right? >> stop the war in yemen. >> the whole country should be a first amendment area. >> that's your opinion. >> that's not my opinion. >> nthat's the opinion of the people who founded this country.
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nchs r. a live look at the capitol rotunda where george h.w. bush is lying in state. since yesterday the public has been offered the opportunity to pay their respects. tomorrow, a state funeral will be held at the washington national cathedral and after the remains of the former president will head back to texas for a public viewing in houston wednesday night.
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on thursday, there's a funeral service at st. maarten's episcopal church with a burial during the afternoon in college station, texas. >> next, state department and usaid officials testify on the current human rights situation in china. and a senate foreign relations subcommittee hearing. >> this hearing will come to order. let me thank you all the witnesses to th


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