Yovanovtich Says US Interests in Azerbaijan Prompted Budget Disparity

marie-yovanovitchYEREVAN (Armenpress)—US Ambassador to Armenia Marie Yovanovitch told a press conference Tuesday that the reason for the disparity in the 2010 foreign aid budget between Armenia and Azerbaijan is because the US has certain interests in the Caspian Basin.

Yovanovitch, who was speaking alongside visiting US Assistant Secretary of State Phillip Gordon, explained that those interests included the fight against drug trafficking and terrorism.

Despite a 9% increase in overall foreign aid spending, President Barack Obama has called for a38% cut in aid to Armenia, a 20% increase in aid to Azerbaijan, and the abandonment of the longstanding Armenia-Azerbaijan military aid parity agreement in favor of Baku.

President Obama’s budget calls for $30 million in U.S. aid to Armenia, down 38% from the FY09 allocation of $48 million. Under his proposal, funding for Azerbaijan would increase 20% from $18.5 million to $22.12 million. The complete international affairs budget proposed by the White House is $53,872,901.

Yovanovitch last month defended the Obama administration’s decision to request a 38% cut in aid to Armenia, arguing that the President’s request was an increase from the last Bush Administration budget request, Public Radio of Armenia reported.

The Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) described Obama’s cut as “disappointing” and a “sharp reversal” from his campaign pledges to support US-Armenia relations.

The President’s budget is set to be reviewed by the Foreign Operations Subcommittees of the House and Senate Appropriation Committees. Each subcommittee has the prerogative to draft their own versions of the FY 2010 foreign assistance bill.

The ANCA is urging Armenian-American activists to send a free ANCA WebFax to their U.S. Representative and two U.S. Senators asking them to urge members of the State-Foreign Operations Subcommittees to reverse the cut and support a $70 million economic assistance package for Armenia.

The action alert also calls on Congress to tighten restrictions on U.S. assistance to Azerbaijan; increase military aid to Armenia and ensure parity with Azerbaijan; increase aid to Nagorno Karabakh for both humanitarian and developmental projects; include language urging Azerbaijan to accept confidence-building measures; and remove restrictions on interaction between U.S. and Nagorno Karabakh officials.

To send the webfax, visit: http://www.capwiz.com/anca/issues/alert/?alertid=13315831



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  1. Dikranagertzi said:

    I’m assuming that when Armenia leans closer to Russia to cultivate its strategic and economic interests, the Obama administration will understand as well.

    If the US administration would rather have Armenia mingle with more Western leaning allies, they may plead their case with a show of bigger carrots. Until then they can save the meaningless rhetoric and futile attribution for someone who cares.

  2. Vahe said:

    Again another nonesense from Washington. When U.S. administration talk shamelessly about their foreign aids to Azarbaijan for “anti” drug trafficing, THAT IS A BS.
    Who don’t know that drug comes out of Afghanestan. A sovereign country under occupation.
    With thousands of Nato troops how come they can not distroy the poppy fields ? the way they distroyed the rice fields of Vietnam ! or close down the northern border of Afghanestan ? the same way the western border has been closed !
    The issue is us, armenians and Armenia. Yerevan should refrain to entertain Wahington’s agents and prolonging dialogue with “Gordons” and alike . Yerevan’s term of engagement should be based on national interest of all armenians , equal mutual respect between governments and maintaining security of the region through any means and sources .
    Washington’s advocates will realize that WE as a Just Nation , we are not alone in the region. Armenia and armenians are capable of balancing the power in the region and defend our rights with or without Washington.

  3. Babken said:

    US Interests in the caspian = oil oil oil. If you look into the Armenian cause with a deeper more holistic analysis, it should be obvious that we as armenian americans should be at the forefront of the environmental movements, the anti war movements, etc. participation in the darfur movement is a good step in the right direction but it doesn’t go far enough.
    We as a community have tons of people power that we can infuse into other movements that a) benefit the armenian cause and b) build big tent coalitions to bring others to our cause.

    just my two luma…

  4. satenik said:

    ” A bad excuse is better than none”, although in this particular case, it is actually a pathetic excuse. I ain’t buying it, and I doubt if anyone else is either!

  5. edward demian said:

    The only way to gain public sentiment and make it politically unacceptable to ignore the Armenian issues, is to do something noticeable such as the Budist monks of Viet Nam did. The TV immages of Buddist monks setting themselves on fire was something that transcended all political lines and tugged at your innerds. I could never do that. I have children to support. I am not urging anyone else to do that either. I have a conscience. But the point is made. Nothing short of the dramatic or sheer power that some ethnic groups have, will work.