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Menendez Opening Remarks at Nominations Hearing

WASHINGTON –  U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, delivered the following opening remarks at this afternoon’s full Committee hearing to consider the nominations of the Honorable Lynne M. Tracy to be Ambassador to the Russian Federation; the Honorable Julie D. Fisher to be Ambassador to the Republic of Cyprus; Ms. Kristina A. Kvien to be Ambassador to the Republic of Armenia; Ms. Carol Spahn to be Director of the Peace Corps; and Ms. Cynthia Dyer to be Director of the Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking, with the rank of Ambassador-at-Large.

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Find a copy of the Chairman’s remarks as delivered below.

“This hearing will come to order.

Today we will consider five nominations that are critical to United States foreign policy.

Ambassador Lynne Tracy, nominated to be Ambassador to Russia, is on the first panel.

The second panel will be Ambassador Julie Fisher to be Ambassador to Cyprus; Ms. Kristina Kvien to be Ambassador to Armenia; Ms. Carol Spahn to be Director of the Peace Corps; and Ms. Cynthia Dyer to be the Director of the Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking.

Before we proceed I understand that Senator Portman will be introducing Ambassador Tracy.

Senator Portman you are recognized.

Thank you Senator Portman. It is always good to have one of our distinguished colleagues on the Committee be introducing a nominee.

Let me congratulate all of the nominees. We thank you for your service to our country and your willingness to serve. We thank your families as well. I know they will have to make sacrifices as you serve in your posts.

That is especially true in Russia. Our diplomatic presence in Moscow—and dialogue with Putin’s government—have shrunk dramatically in the wake of his illegal and barbaric invasion of Ukraine.

Putin’s war against Ukrainian civilians is targeting their electricity and their water and abducting their children. It is unlike anything Europe has seen since the Second World War.

And yet even as Putin continues to carry out this brutal war, we need an ambassador who can represent us there.

You, Ambassador, will not only have to carry out your duties in the face of a hostile government, but you will also represent America beyond the Kremlin walls.

To the broad mass of the Russian people, many of whom feel isolated and betrayed by their leader’s war of aggression.

To the detainees of this war.

To the Russian opposition activists who are fighting for a different way forward in Russia.

And to the Ukrainians, who will look to you for assessments of our relationship with Moscow. 

It is difficult to imagine a more challenging assignment for a career diplomat, so I look forward to hearing from you how you plan to tackle these and other issues upon your confirmation.

With that I’ll turn to Ranking Member Risch for his remarks.” 

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