U.S. Aid Excludes Armenia Again

Chief executive of the U.S. Millennium Challenge Corporation Daniel W. Yohannes speaks in Tbilisi

YEREVAN (RFE/RL)—The United States has again refused to resume multimillion-dollar economic assistance to Armenia under its Millennium Challenge Account (MCA) program designed to foster reforms in developing nations.

Armenia is not on the newly updated list of eight countries, most of them in Africa, currently eligible for such aid. The Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), a U.S. government agency administering the scheme, released it following a meeting of its executive board in Washington this week.

An MCC statement on the board meeting announced and explained the exclusion of two other African states from the list. But it said nothing about the rejection of an aid application made by the Armenian government.

Prime Minister Tigran Sargsyan instructed the government to formally request renewed MCA funding on November 14. Sargsyan cited the MCC’s latest “scorecard” for Armenia listing 20 indicators of political and economic freedom grouped into 3 broad categories of government policy.

The authorities in Yerevan met the minimum eligibility requirements in all of those categories. In particular, the MCC found an improvement in their efforts to tackle endemic corruption. The U.S. agency was until then dissatisfied with the effectiveness of those efforts.

The issue was most probably on the agenda of a November 22 meeting in Washington of the U.S-Armenia Joint Economic Task Force (USATF), an intergovernmental body mainly dealing with broader American assistance to Armenia. Statements on that meeting made by the U.S. State Department and Armenian officials did not mention the MCA.

Finance Minister Davit Sargsian, who headed the Armenian delegation at the USATF meeting, confirmed on Thursday that Yerevan was not deemed eligible for the additional U.S. aid. Speaking to RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun.am), Sargsian said the U.S. rebuff “has nothing to do” with the MCC’s reform criteria. “There are countries in the world that are probably in greater need of assistance than Armenia,” he said.

The MCC said earlier in November that its board will “rely heavily on the scorecards” in choosing eligible nations.

Armenia qualified for the scheme shortly after Washington launched it in 2006, receiving $177 million for the rehabilitation of rural irrigation networks. The MCC planned at the time to allocate another $60 million for the reconstruction of the country’s rural roads. But it scrapped that allocation shortly after a disputed February 2008 presidential election that was followed by a harsh government crackdown on the Armenian opposition.

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7 Comments

  1. Harutik said:

    On again, off again, on again, off again… This is not a matter of them not being able to make up their minds, this is a way of dangling a carrot in front of our jackasses. In other words, knowing how money hungry Armenians are they are trying to incite Armenian officials with this bribe money.

  2. GB said:

    Obamba and his rockers team, rockin around the clock, with his anti Armenian rock and roll music!!

  3. www.Voskanapat.info said:

    One more to go – time to kick out the corrupt USoverpAID.

    This MCC is a total joke. We borrow money from China and loan it to Armenia and other countries. How about Armenia gets aid directly from China?

  4. GeorgeMardig said:

    Instead of helping a torn apart Armenians, by not extending a hand, the US is continuing it’s alignment with Armenian Genocide perpetrator Turkey.

  5. glagirl said:

    Foreign aid delays a country’s own ability to fix its own problems. This is known. It’s been shown in many countries.

    I’m an Armenian and I don’t want U.S. or any country to send money to Armenia for anything. Armenia needs to figure out its own way of fixing its problems. That’s the only way we will learn to prosper and rely on ourselves.

    • www.Voskanapat.info said:

      So why did the United States pay $5 billion in today’s prices for airlift operation to save the blockaded West Berlin?
      2,326,406 tons of food and coal on 278,228 flights between 24 June 1948 – 12 May 1949.

      Why did JFK flew there to announce that he was a “jelly doughnut” in his Ich bin ein Berliner speech?
      Why couldn’t these jelly doughnuts fend for themselves and figure out how to fix their own problems in their own way?
      Oh, wait, did I mention blockade? Is Armenia blockaded by NATO Turkey now? Is our jelly doughnut president going to fly there?

      You know which country has the official state ideology of self-reliance called Juche? Unlike Armenia, North Korea has railroad connection all the way to Europe via China and Russia and access to the Pacific ocean…

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