US CONGRESS BLOCKS PRO-ARMENIAN BILL
July 23 2008
US Congress has rejected an initiative on reducing military aid to
Azerbaijan proposed by co-chair of the US congressional group on
assistance to Armenia Joseph Knollenberg.
The pro-Armenian lawmaker had forwarded the package to the House of
Representatives subcommittee in charge of allocating funds under
foreign programs. His bill was rejected by the majority of votes
during discussions on the 2009 state budget.
Knollenberg claimed that a reduction of aid to Azerbaijan was
necessitated by the country`s military potential that is growing by
the year and its alleged threats against Armenia and the separatist
regime of Upper (Nagorno) Garabagh. He maintained that Azerbaijan`s
"armament machine" should be stopped to ensure security of Armenia
and the region as a whole.
"Therefore, our assistance to Baku is out of the question. I will
fight the allocation of this amount from the budget. The United States
should not support Azerbaijan`s calls to war," he said in a statement
that was not supported by most of other Congress members.
The Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs
thus passed a document endorsing military aid worth $52 million to
Azerbaijan and Armenia each, and $8 million as humanitarian aid for
The rejection of the anti-Azerbaijan bill has infuriated the Armenian
community in the U.S. The Armenian National Committee of America
(ANCA) issued a critical statement on the outcomes of the vote.
"We are disappointed with the position taken by Congresswoman Nita
Lowey [Chair of the Subcommittee] and overall, by the House members,"
the organization`s executive director Aram Ambarian said.
"Although these lawmakers are friends of the Armenian community of
America, they came out against the amendments to the draft law. We
did not expect this," he said.
ANCA thanked Knollenberg for drafting the bill, claiming it served
to protect peace and stability in the South Caucasus region. The
Armenian community also highly assessed the backing of the initiative
by Congressmen Adam Schiff and Mark Kirk.
From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress