Armenian Assembly Calls for Robust Aid to Armenia as the U.S is Reducing Spending

WASHINGTON — on Monday, February 14, the Administration released its budget for Fiscal Year (FY) 2012, which provides an overall reduction in funding for the Europe, Eurasia and Central Asia account (AEECA) from $742 million in FY 2010 to $627 million for FY 2012, which includes an allocation of $40 million for Armenia.

This allocation for Armenia represents a decrease of $1 million when compared to the FY 2011 level.

“The Armenia Assembly strongly supports robust funding for Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh,” state Executive Director Bryan Ardouny. “Given the on going blockades imposed on Armenia by its imposed on Armenia by Turkey and Azerbaijan, U.S assistance continues to help offset their effects through development and technical assistance,” added Ardouny.

The Administration’s Budget also provides $3 million in Foreign Military Financing (FMF) for Armenia and Azerbaijan, but allocates $450,000 more to Azerbaijan in International Military Education Training (IMET) despite Congressional intent to ensure military.

The Budget also calls for funds to used “for confidence-building measures and other activities in furtherance of the peaceful resolution of conflicts, including in Nagorno-Karabakh.” In addition, the budget also restated Section 907 of the Freedom Support Act and the six customary exemptions for humanitarian and other assistance programs.

Section 907 of the Freedom Support Act was enacted in 1992 and required the Government of Azerbaijan to take “demonstrable steps to cease all blockades and other offensive uses of force” against Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh.

“Given Azerbaijan’s increased war-rhetoric and cease-fire violations, Section 907 remains an important an important tool for U.S. diplomacy,” stated Congressional Relations Associate Bianka Kadian-Dodov. “While the Administration provided parity with respect to FMF for Armenia and Azerbaijan, it did not honor Congressional intent with respect to IMET,” added Kadian-Dodov.

As was the case in FY 2011, the Administration did not specifically note funding levels for Nagorno-Karabakh. However, Congress has routinely called for up to $10 million in annual U.S assistance.

The Administration’s Budget comes as the House of Representatives is poised to consider this week a comprehensive funding measure for the remainder of the 2011 fiscal year. The measure would reduce the overall federal budget by $100 billion, which represents “the largest set of spending reductions in the history of the nation,” according to House.

Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers (Rep. KY), Funding for assistance programs abroad are slated for 21% cut when compared to the President’s 2011 budget request.

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