ANCA Welcome White House Proposal to Maintain Military Aid Parity

Armenian National Committee of America
888 17th St., NW, Suite 904
Washington, DC 20006
Tel: (202) 775-1918
Fax: (202) 775-5648
E-mail: [email protected]


February 8, 2005
Contact: Elizabeth S. Chouldjian
Tel: (202) 775-1918


— ANCA Welcomes Recognition of the Role that
Military Aid Parity Plays in Regional Stability

WASHINGTON, DC – In a move welcomed as a contribution to regional
stability and the search for peace, the Bush Administration’s
Fiscal Year (FY) 2006 budget proposal, released yesterday, called
for maintaining parity in military assistance to Armenia and
Azerbaijan, reported the Armenian National Committee of America
(ANCA). This decision represents a break from the last year’s
widely criticized FY 2005 budget request, which, although later
reversed by Congress, initially proposed providing four times more
military aid to Azerbaijan than to Armenia.

“We are gratified that the President’s Fiscal Year 2006 budget
calls for parity in military aid appropriations to Armenia and
Azerbaijan,” said ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian. “We
welcome this request as a contribution toward regional peace, and
want to extend our appreciation to Congressman Knollenberg, Senator
McConnell and the other key legislators who impressed upon the
Administration the wisdom of this course of action.”

The budget request includes $5 million in Foreign Military Finance
(FMF) assistance and $750,000 in International Military Education
and Training (IMET) for both Armenia and Azerbaijan. The FY 2006
White House proposal also includes a $55 million earmark for
Armenia, $7 million less than the figure proposed by the
Administration last year, and $20 million less than the actual
assistance appropriated by Congress for 2005. Azerbaijan and
Georgia have been budgeted $35 million and $67 million,
respectively. The overall foreign aid budget for the former Soviet
Union is $482 million, a $74 million reduction from last year.

For the first time, the budget document also made specific
reference to Nagorno Karabagh, citing that a portion of a $48.5
million allocation for Eurasia would include funding for
humanitarian assistance to Nagorno Karabagh.

“We were pleased that the Administration’s request, for the first
time, specifically cited humanitarian aid to Nagorno Karabagh,”
continued Hamparian. “We were, however, troubled by the White
House’s proposed reduction in aid to Armenia. We will, in the
coming weeks and months, work with Congressional appropriators in
support of an increased allocation for Armenia.”

The Foreign Operations Subcommittees of the Senate and House
Appropriation Committees will now review the budget and each draft
their own versions of the FY 2006 foreign assistance bill.

The agreement to maintain parity in U.S. military aid to Armenia
and Azerbaijan was struck between the White House and Congress in
2001, in the wake of Congressional action granting the President
the authority to waive the Section 907 restrictions on aid to
Azerbaijan. The ANCA has vigorously defended this principle,
stressing in correspondence, at senior level meetings, and through
grassroots activism, that a tilt in military spending toward
Azerbaijan would destabilize the region, emboldening the
Azerbaijani leadership to continue their threats to impose a
military solution to the Nagorno Karabagh conflict. More broadly,
the ANCA has underscored that breaching the parity agreement would
reward the leadership of Azerbaijan for walking away from the
OSCE’s Key West peace talks, the most promising opportunity to
resolve the Nagorno Karabagh conflict in nearly a decade. Finally,
failing to respect the parity agreement would, the ANCA has
stressed, undermine the role of the U.S. as an impartial mediator
of the Nagorno Karabagh conflict.