Foreign Aid Panel More Than Doubles Aid to Karabakh

Rep. Adam Schiff

Efforts Led by Rep. Schiff Result in Proposed 150% Increase in Aid to Artsakh, Maintaining Assistance to Armenia, Prioritization of Aid to Javakhk, and Preserving Military Aid Parity between Yerevan and Baku

WASHINGTON—The U.S. House panel responsible for foreign aid this week adopted a number of provisions promoting U.S. interests and American values in the Caucasus, proposing sharply increasing aid to Nagorno Karabakh from $2 to $5 million and rejecting the Obama Administration’s proposed $7.2 million cut in aid to Armenia, reported the Armenian National Committee of America.

The House Appropriations Subcommittee on State-Foreign Operations, led by Chairwoman Kay Granger (R-TX) and Ranking Democrat Nita Lowey (D-NY), also maintained military aid parity between Armenia and Azerbaijan, and called upon the Administration to formulate a strategy for targeted aid to the Armenian-populated Javakhk region of Georgia. These provisions were included in the Committee’s Fiscal Year 2013 version of the foreign aid bill, which is set to be voted on tomorrow by the full House Appropriations Committee.

“Armenian Americans from California and across America thank Congressman Adam Schiffm who aggressively spearheaded the adoption of these vital foreign aid priorities, for his principled, pro-active, and persistent leadership,” said Aram Hamparian, Executive Director of the ANCA. “We would also like to express our warm appreciation to our great friend and champion Congressman Steve Rothman, as well as to Ranking Member Nita Lowey, Congressmen Frank Wolf and Jesse Jackson, and, of course, to the leader of the Subcommittee, Chairwoman Kay Granger. The aid levels proposed for both Armenia and Nagorno Karabakh are particularly meaningful in the context of overall reductions in foreign aid spending,” said Aram Hamparian, Executive Director of the ANCA.

The key provisions of concern to Armenian Americans in this measure include:

— Nagorno Karabakh: Against the backdrop of multi-billion dollar cuts to overall foreign aid spending, the panel proposed more than doubling aid to Nagorno Karabakh, from the traditional expenditure level over the past several years of $2 million to an FY13 level of $5 million, expliciting expanding the mandate of this assistance program to include both humanitarian and development assistance.

— Armenia: The Subcommittee also set aid to Armenia at no less than $40 million, rejecting the Obama Administration’s proposal to reduce FY13 economic aid to Armenia to $32.5 million, roughly $7.5 million less than the $40 million appropriated by Congress for FY12.

— Javakhk: In a move that underscored the panel’s interest in the welfare of the Armenian-populated Javakhk region of Georgia, they directed “the Coordinator of United States Assistance to Europe and Eurasia at the Department of State, in consultation with the Chief Executive Officer of the Millennium Challenge Corporation, to report to the Committees on Appropriations describing the effects of United States assistance from fiscal years 2005–2012 of programs conducted in Samstskhe-Javakheti and a strategy for future development of this region.”

— Military Aid Parity: The Subcommittee maintained parity in Foreign Military Financing ($2.7 million) and International Military Education and Training ($600,000) between Armenia and Azerbaijan.

Earlier this year, in an intiative supported by the ANCA, a bipartisan group of legislators, led by Armenian Caucus Co-Chairman Frank Pallone (D-NJ), sent a letter to Reps. Granger and Lowey making the case for supporting “the U.S.-Armenia strategic relationship through economic development and security assistance.” The letter called for at least $5 million in U.S. aid to Nagorno Karabakh, increased aid to Armenia, targeted assistance to Javakhk, and military aid parity, among other priorities. For a copy of the letter, visit: http://www.anca.org/assets/pdf/misc/FY13_appropriations_priorities.pdf

The Senate Appropriations Committee may consider the foreign aid bill as early as next week.

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9 Comments

  1. Samvel Jeshmaridian, PhD said:

    Giving $$$ to Armenian Government, US Senators and Representatives are supporting the criminal regimes in the South Caucasus. Senators and Congressmen, the $$$ You are giving to Armenian and Karabakhi Governments is NOT Your money; It is the US tax payers money. The illegal President of Armenia and the vasal President of Karabakh are using that money 1) for rigging elections in Armenia; 2) for bribing simple citizens of Armenia in the elections; 3) for their everyday expenditure; 4) for perfecting the corruptive system of the Republic of Armenia. US$$$ are demonic tools in the hands of criminal leaders of Armenia to cheat on their own peoples. That way, the U.S. is skillfully killing the grassroot Democracy in Armenia. I cannot believe that it is the objective of the US political leaders. You should understand that cutting the Armenian aid by $7.2 US President Obama tried to partially correct his 2-year-old rough mistake of receiving the Armenian illegal President in D.C.

    • GB said:

      Samvel,
      If you take your PHD away, then you will find your comment is baseless, a die hard LTP man!! The money should be transferred to private sector such as Armenia Fund…no human is holier than another one, that including US politicians…especially in Armenia!!

      • My Name Is Pedro, Holmes said:

        GB, Samvel is right. Armenia is ruled with corrupt oligarchs which keep Armenia dirt poor. While tons of foreign aid gets sent to Armenia, they are sent to the oligarchic leaders in Yerevan. Samvel has a point.

  2. duduk said:

    The funding should be earmarked for developing Armenia’s agriculture and academic programs. This will insure that even if we triple the money that goes to Armenia, it can be used for means that are productive for all.

  3. Razmig said:

    This Money will not make or break the future of our nation. We don’t need money, we need changes in U.S. foreign policy.

    • Nemo the One Legged Captain said:

      I totally agree. We also need to stop promoting this idea of “universal Armenian identity”. You can’t expect change when you take away the fundamental component that makes Armenians Armenian; their identity. Clearly, ANCA should stop trying to claim that “everyone is Armenian”. Rather, those in Armenia are Armenian. Everyone else, whether you want to accept or not, is on the verge or will be on the verge of assimilation. This idea of “universal Armenian identity” is counter productive. It is harmful to nation building. For a group as marginalized and microscopic like Armenians, it will inevitably lead to extinction. The irony here is that while most could prepare themselves for the future and try to hold out they will not because they will listen to idiotic rhetoric of our “community leaders”. The “community leaders”, IMHO, don’t even care about Armenians. There is so much that is wrong. First and foremost, the entire “Armenian lobby” lacks any vision. They just are looking for a stage that will pamper their ego. Most of the time, the only thing I see that is actually being pushed forward are photo ops. That is the reality.
      So, yes, Razmig, I agree with you. This community has problems accepting reality. The first step in our own issues of denial is to accept the reality that there is no such thing as a “diaspora”. It is a figment of our imagination. We want to believe in such nonsense because it gives us comfort that our existence as Non-Armenian nationals is actually constructive, when in all likelihood and reality, it is detrimental to nation building and will eventually lead us to extinction.

  4. Varouj Mirzaians said:

    Congressman Adam Schiff, Thanks for your long time continuous support.

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