Washington’s aid to Armenia will be twice as much aid to Azerbaijan

Pan Armenian News

WASHINGTON’S AID TO ARMENIA WILL BE TWICE AS MUCH THE AID TO AZERBAIJAN

Members of the American parliament support the idea of showing special
attitude towards Armenia.

The US Senate assignments committee has started considering the bill on 2006
foreign assignments for the support to developing countries. According to
the bill approved by the profile subcommittee the financial aid to Armenia
will not be reduced. Meanwhile it should be mentioned that the
administration suggested to provide Armenia with nearly one third less of
the funds allotted in 2005.

/PanARMENIAN.Net/ So far it is not possible to give a definite answer about
the sizes of the U.S. aid to Armenia. The thing is that the bill approval
process is rather long. The document has still passed only three fourth of
the necessary procedures. Before the document can acquire force of the law
it has to be `polished up’ on 7-8 levels. Up to now the bill has been
approved in profile subcommittees, the House committee and the plenary
session of the lower chamber. After making some corrections in the document
the Senate subcommittee passed it to the profile committee. After the
approval on this stage the document will be considered in the Senate after
which it will be considered by the conciliatory committee consisting of
representatives from both chambers. After achieving some compromise variant
the project will again be sent back to the Senate and the House for
approval. If there are no disagreements the approved document will be
submitted to the President. Only in that case we shall be able to talk about
the sum of money allotted to Armenia.

However, it should be mentioned that currently the bill proceeds in a way
that is very favorable for us because nearly on all the stages the figures
referring to Armenia were reviewed only for increasing. Thus, considering
the opinion of the subcommittee the House committee decided to increase the
financial support to Armenia up to 67,5 million US dollars. It is worth
reminding that the administration suggested to allot 55 million. (393
congressmen out of 425 supported the document). During the Wednesday session
of the subcommittee on Senate foreign assignments the sum was increased to
75 million. There are grounds to suppose that the committee will approve the
sum and will submit that to the approval of the Senate, which will most
likely support the initiative.

Disagreements between the administration and lawmakers concerning the sizes
of the financial aid to Armenia have a long history. It is already the fifth
year the White House suggests to reduce the aid to Armenia but the lawmakers
have always managed to increase the figures thanks to the successful
lobbying activities of the local Armenian community. For the past 10 years
the aid to Armenia from the United States has been reduced by only 15
million US dollars. (In early 90s it was 90 million. It should be taken into
account that today the economic condition of Armenia is incomparably better
than it was during the years of blockade and energetic crisis). In the White
House they of course realize that the congressmen will try to protect the
interests of Armenians, but nevertheless every time they suggest to reduce
the sizes of the aid to Armenia. Armenian lobbyists argue their initiative
by the continued blockade, the fact that official Washington makes less
efforts than necessary to remove the blockade and the administration’s
promise to cancel the amendment 907 to the Freedom Support Act that supposed
sanctions against Azerbaijan. At that time the White House promised to
guarantee stable aid to Armenia in change for the agreement of congressmen
to give aid to Azerbaijan.

It is worth mentioning that the congressmen accepted the figures in the bill
reflecting the aid to be given next year to Azerbaijan. Baku will receive
from Washington only 38 million US dollars, that is two times as less than
the sum lawmakers suggest to give to Yerevan. At the same time
Nagorno-Karabakh will also receive aid from the United States. Like in the
previous years Stepanakert will receive 5 million dollars. The sum will be
sent directly to Stepanakert which is regarded in Baku as an indirect
recognition of NKR sovereignty.

All the mentioned figures refer to economic support. The sizes of military
support are settled in the bill separately. In this question the
administration and lawmakers do not have any disagreements. Both Armenia and
Azerbaijan will receive 5 million 750 thousand US dollars, 750.000 out which
will be used for foreign military trainings.

Parity in the sizes of the military support should be considered an
achievement since the active participation of Azerbaijan in the
antiterrorist coalition created by Americans enabled official Baku to
receive funds for military needs. In that case the military support to
Azerbaijan was half as much again the support to Armenia. Now Yerevan and
Baku are equal military partners for Washington and this fact approves the
bill on foreign assignments.

02.07.2005, “PanARMENIAN Network” analytical department

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