U.S. relations with Armenia and Azerbaijan will be in the Congressional spotlight next week, as the Senate Foreign Relations Committee begins consideration of President Obama’s nominees to these two Caucasus countries, reported the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA). “The Senate confirmation process for U.S. Ambassador to Azerbaijan nominee Robert Cekuta represents an urgently needed opportunity for Congressional oversight of the U.S. relationship with an Azerbaijani government that is rapidly escalating toward war and increasingly cracking down on domestic dissent,” said ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian. “We look forward to close scrutiny of the Azerbaijan nomination and welcome the opportunity for Ambassador-designate Richard Mills to outline for the Committee his plans to help mark the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide and, more broadly, to deepen and strengthen the U.S.-Armenia relationship.” The ANCA has circulated an Action Alert urging friends of Armenia across the U.S. to contact their Senators and urge close scrutiny of the U.S. Ambassador to Azerbaijan nominee. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee Confirmation hearing will be held on Wednesday, Sept 17 at 10:00am EST. U.S. Ambassador to Azerbaijan nominee Robert F. Cekuta is the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State of the Energy Resources Bureau. Recent overseas assignments include Tokyo (2007 – 2009) and Berlin (2003 – 2007) where he led the U.S. Government’s engagement on the full range of economic issues with two of the world’s top economies. Bob’s work as Economic Minister Counselor in Germany included counter-terrorism and efforts to combat international criminal activities. He was also Senior Advisor for Food Security in the State Department’s Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs and Senior Deputy Coordinating Director at the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan for all development and economic affairs. Having been assigned overseas in Albania, Austria, Iraq, South Africa, and Yemen, Bob has also worked in the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (1999 – 2000). He has held positions in Washington at the State Department responsible for energy, trade, and economic development, including Director for Economic Policy Analysis and Public Diplomacy, Special Negotiator for Biotechnology, and Director of the Iraq Economic Task Force. U.S. Ambassador to Armenia nominee Richard M. Mills, Jr. most recently served as Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Beirut, Lebanon. Previously, Mr. Mills served as Deputy Chief of Mission and Charge d’Affaires, Embassy Valetta, Malta (2010-2012), Senior Democracy Advisor, Embassy Baghdad, Iraq (2009-2010), Political Officer, Embassy London, England (2006-2009), Economic Officer and Acting Economic Counselor, Embassy Riyadh, Saudi Arabia (2005-2006), Political Officer, Embassy Islamabad, Pakistan (2003-2004), Political Officer, U.S. Mission to the United Nations, New York (2001-2003), Economic/Commercial Officer, Embassy Dublin, Ireland (1999-2001), Line Director, Executive Secretariat, Office of the Secretary, Department of State (1996-1998), Legislative Affairs Officer, Office of Legislative Affairs, Department of State (1995-1996), Political Officer, Consulate Saint Petersburg, Russia (1993-1995), Desk Officer, Bureau of Soviet Union Affairs, Department of State, (1990-1992), and Consular Officer/Staff Aide, Embassy Paris, France (1988-1990). Prior to his Foreign Service career, Mr. Mills was an Associate Attorney at Duncan, Allen and Mitchell in Washington, D.C. (1985-1987) and an Associate Attorney at Wickwire, Gavin and Gibbs in Washington, D.C. (1984-1985).