US Armenia Task Force Reviews Wide range of Issues

Armenia’seeks ‘At least $60M’ in Extra US Aid

YEREVAN (Armenpress/RFE/RL)–A semi-annual session of the US-Armenian Task Force–an intergovernmental body charged with promoting bilateral cooperation–convened in Yerevan on Monday–co-chaired by Armenian Finance and Economy Minister Vartan Khachatrian and Ambassador Carlos Pascal–a State Department official coordinating American aid to Europe and the former Soviet Union.

During the first day of meetings–the Task Force discussed reforms in the energy–agriculture–and business sectors–and implementation of ongoing US assistance programs in Armenia.

Armenia’s participation in the Millennium Challenge Account (MCA) was also a priority during the first day of talks. Armenia is among 16 countries of Africa–Asia–Latin America and the former Soviet Union eligible for the MCA–which makes available a total of $1 billion in US economic aid in the current fiscal year alone. Governmen’s must submit written proposals targeting programs–and requesting specific amounts.

According to Deputy Finance Minister David Avetisian–the Armenian government will draw up and submit its aid plan to the US within the next "two or three months." He said the government would like to secure at least $60 million for poverty reduction programs targeting education–public health care–and social services.

"These are going to be substantial sums for both the Armenian economy and programs which Armenia is to present," Avetisian said. "If Armenia comes up with high-quality programs the sum will increase."

The country’s taxation legislation–efforts to curb illegal trafficking of Armenian nationals to third countries–money laundering–and Armenia’s WTO membership are also on the Task Force’s agenda.


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