Lawmakers Reinforce Request to Raise Aid to Armenia, Karabakh

Reps. Pallone and LoBiondo Lead Bipartisan Congressional Effort Requesting $48 Million for Armenia, $10 Million for Karabakh

WASHINGTON–Congressional Armenian Caucus Co-Chair Frank Pallone (D-NJ) and New Jersey Republican Frank LoBiondo were joined by dozens of their House Colleagues in urging Senate and House Appropriations Committee leaders to maintain $48 million in U.S. assistance to Armenia, increased aid to Nagorno Karabagh, and continued military assistance parity to Armenia and Azerbaijan in the fiscal year (FY) 2010 foreign aid bill, reported the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA).

“We want to thank Congressmen Pallone and Lobiondo for leading this bipartisan outreach to members of the State-Foreign Operations Subcommittee – and also to express our appreciation to our friends serving on this panel, including Nita Lowey, Adam Schiff, Mark Kirk, Steve Rothman, and Jesse Jackson – for their work in support of
the pro-Armenia provisions in the FY2010 foreign aid bill,” said Aram Hamparian, Executive Director of the ANCA.  “We are hopeful that the conference committee, which will be called to reconcile the Senate and House versions of this legislation, will approve the higher House figures for aid to Armenia and Nagorno Karabagh, endorse the House’s decision to maintain military aid parity between Armenia and Azerbaijan, and support the House language reaffirming Section 907 of the Freedom Support Act.”

Earlier this year, both the House and Senate adopted their versions of the FY 2010 foreign aid bill, with the House adopting higher figures for Armenia and Nagorno  Karabagh and including new language reaffirming Section 907 restriction on U.S. assistance to Azerbaijan, due to that country’s ongoing blockade of Armenia.

In an October 26th letter to the Chairs and Ranking Republicans of the Senate and House foreign aid subcommittees, the House Members cited the “approximately
$680 million loss resulting from the Russia-Georgia conflict.  We are reminded that Armenia provided humanitarian, diplomatic and economic assistance to Georgia, facilitated the safe transit for U.S. and international officials, and helped rebuild damaged Georgian infrastructure.”

In expressing its support for $3.45 million in military assistance to Armenia, the Congressional letter stated: “Armenia’s cooperation in anti-terrorism efforts and its
deployment of forces to both Iraq and Kosovo are pivotal to U.S. interests.  Armenia has entered into a NATO Individual Partnership Action Plan (IPAP) and has worked closely with both NATO and the Defense Department on a range of bilateral and multilateral agreements, joint training programs, and military exercises.”

Joining Reps. Pallone and LoBiondo in signing the Congressional letter were: Bruce Braley (D-IA), Dennis Cardoza (D-CA), Barney Frank (D-MA), Jim Costa (D-CA),
Jerry Costello (D-IL), Anna Eshoo (D-CA), Chakah Fattah (D-PA), Elton Gallegly (R-CA), Scott Garrett (R-NJ), Rush Holt (D-NJ), James Langevin (D-RI), Daniel Lipinski (D-IL), Stephen Lynch (D-MA), Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), Ed Markey (D-MA), James McGovern (D-MA), Candice Miller (R-MI), Grace Napolitano (D-CA), Collin Peterson (D-MN), Garry Peters (D-MI), John Sarbanes (D-MD), Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Brad Sherman (D-CA), Mark Souder (R-IN), Jackie Speier (D-CA), Tim Walz (D-MN),  Henry Waxman (D-CA), Anthony Weiner (D-NY), and Frank Wolf (R-VA).

___________________

Text of Congressional letter on Foreign Aid to Armenia

October 26, 2009

Representative Nita Lowey
Chair, House Appropriations Subcommittee on the Department of
State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs
US Capitol, HB-26
Washington, DC 20515

Representative Kay Granger
Ranking Member
House Appropriations Subcommittee on the Department of
State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs
1016 Longworth House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

Senator Patrick Leahy
Chair
Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on the Department of
State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs
127 Dirksen Senate Office Building,
Washington, DC 20510

Senator Judd Gregg
Ranking Member
Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on the Department of
State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs
125 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510

We believe it is important that Congress demonstrates bipartisan support for Armenia and Nagorno Karabakh in the Subcommittee on the Department of State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs. We are writing to urge you to support the House version of the fiscal year (FY) 2010 Department of State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs bill concerning critical funding for Armenia and Nagorno Karabakh.

The House version allocates $48 million to Armenia in economic assistance (ESF) that provides important support for Armenia in the face of Turkey and Azerbaijan’s dual
blockades. Additionally, this aid will help Armenia recover from the approximately $680 million loss resulting from the Russia-Georgia conflict.  We are reminded that Armenia provided humanitarian, diplomatic and economic assistance to Georgia, facilitated the safe transit for U.S. and international officials, and helped rebuild damaged
Georgian infrastructure.

The House version also provides $3 million in Foreign Military Financing (FMF) and $450,000 in International Military Education and Training (IMET) that will allow the
U.S.-Armenia military relationship continue to expand in scope and depth.  Armenia’s cooperation in anti-terrorism efforts and its deployment of forces to both Iraq and
Kosovo are pivotal to U.S. interests.  Armenia has entered into a NATO Individual Partnership Action Plan (IPAP) and has worked closely with both NATO and the Defense
Department on a range of bilateral and multilateral agreements, joint training programs, and military exercises.

We also commend the House for inserting language regarding Section 907 of the FREEDOM Support Act in opposition to Azerbaijan’s blockade and support for  congressional authority over aid to Azerbaijan. Finally, we strongly back the House’s concern for the plight of the victims of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and the direction of $10 million to address ongoing humanitarian needs in that troubled region.

We thank you for your support of Armenia and the US-Armenia strategic relationship. Thank you for your attention to this letter.

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One Comment;

  1. Garo Avedis said:

    the economic benefits that USA recieves from Armenian Americans yearly from income taxes,property taxes,business sales taxes is over a billion US$ per year,yet America is giving Armenia aid for US$48 million,thats a drop in the bucket,where is the balance?

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