Armenia Makes New Bid for Extra US Aid

YEREVAN (RFE/RL)–The Armenian government has submitted new–more modest proposals for additional US economic assistance under the Millennium Challenge Account program–almost six months after presenting its initial application.

The Finance Ministry announced on Wednesday that the government has asked for about $175 million worth of aid and hopes that its upcoming negotiations with the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC)–a US government agency managing the scheme–will be successful. "In the coming months the government of Armenia and the MCC will hold negotiations in order to reach a final agreement on the issue," the ministry said in a statement.

Armenia had initially sought $900 million worth of aid over three years–but lowered expectations after Armenian and US officials met in October.

A Finance Ministry statement revealed the government approved the new aid application on March 25 and submitted it to Washington on Tuesday. Most of the requested money would be spent on rebuilding battered irrigation networks and roads in rural regions of Armenia.

The Millennium Challenge Account (MCA) was unveiled by President George W. Bush last year. Armenia is among 16 developing nations eligible for the program’s first $1 billion aid allocation. They were chosen on the basis of 16 indicators of political and economic reforms.

Armenia has already been a leading per-capita recipient of US assistance which has totaled more than $1.5 billion since 1992.

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