Armenian Caucus Co-Chairs Will Work To Restore Funding For Armenia


May 8th, 2009

WASHINGTON-U.S. Reps. Frank Pallone Jr., (D-NJ) and Mark Kirk (R-IL),
the two co-chairs of the Congressional Caucus on Armenian Issues,
pledged Friday to work with their congressional colleagues to increase
economic assistance to Armenia and Karabakh beyond the Administration’s
decreased budget proposal issued on Thursday, a joint statement from
their offices said.

"As co-chairs of the Armenia Caucus, we are confident that as the
FY10 appropriations process moves forward, Congress will increase
economic assistance to Armenia beyond the Administration’s budget
proposal and will provide aid to Nagorno Karabakh," the two said in
a joint statement issued Friday.

The Administration budget proposal broke with military parity between
Armenia and Azerbaijan and reduced Armenia’s economic aid by 37.5

According to Kirk and Pallone, the budget allocates $3 million
in Foreign Military Financing (FMF) and $300,000 in International
Military Education and Training (IMET) to Armenia, while providing
Azerbaijan with $4 million in FMF and $900,000 in IMET funds. Economic
assistance to Armenia, funded through the Freedom Support Act, totaled
$30 million, an $18 million reduction from what Congress appropriated
last year.

"Over the past year, President Aliyev of Azerbaijan has repeatedly made
bellicose statements in regards to Nagorno Karabakh," the statement
said, adding that the co-chairs will work to uphold Section 907 of the
Freedom Support Act, which prohibits military funding to Azerbaijan.

"If this is not possible, we will work with Congress to restore the
long-standing tradition of providing military parity between the two
countries, which was promised in the aftermath of the September 11th
attacks," the statement added.

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