Sen. Menendez Questions U.S. Under-Spending On Karabakh


Published: Friday November 26, 2010

Report: $25 mln in U.S. aid to Karabakh unspent

Washington – Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) is pressing the Obama
Administration to answer for a $25 million spending shortfall in U.S.
aid intended by Congress to be allocated for Nagorno Karabakh,
reported the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA).

Senator Menendez raised this issue during the November 17 confirmation
hearing for a senior Administration official, Paige Eve Alexander,
who has been nominated by the White House to serve as the Assistant
Administrator of the United States Agency for International

During Alexander’s appearance before the Foreign Relations Committee,
Senator Menendez, noted that, “of the 60 million that Congress
intended for Nagorno-Karabakh over the course of the past 12 years,
USAID has only extended 35 million.” He then asked her, pointedly,
how she would, if approved, “respond to those realities.”

He followed up by explaining that the intent of Congress was “pretty
clear here,” and expressing his concern that, despite this being
“one of the areas where money has actually been authorized and
appropriated. . . it seems that the [State] Department, for some
reason, is not moving forward.”

“We join with Armenian Americans from throughout the Garden State and
across the country in thanking Senator Menendez for his leadership
in ensuring strict Congressional oversight of the U.S. aid program to
Nagorno Karabakh, and in expressing our appreciation for his long-time
friendship with our community and cause,” said Ani Tchaghlasian of
ANCA-New Jersey.

“We share the Senator’s concerns about the Administration’s pattern
of under-spending of desperately needed assistance to Artsakh, and
look forward to learning of the steps that Assistant Administrator
Alexander and her Administration colleagues will take to bring actual
spending in line with the clearly expressed will of our Congress.”

Alexander responded first by stressing her support for the U.S.
program for Nagorno Karabakh, noting: “Right. Absolutely, I think
that the continued work on the humanitarian assistance level,
everything from shelter repair to de-mining and water, are still
important elements.” Without directly addressing the question posed
by Senator Menendez regarding the pattern of under-spending on aid
to Nagorno Karabakh, she added that, if confirmed, she will “work
closely to make sure that those areas are still focused on and that
the assistance goes to where it was intended Congressionally.”

An ANCA review, released on August of this year, revealed that
successive U.S. Administrations – both Democratic and Republican –
have, since Fiscal Year 1998, expended $25 million less in aid to
Nagorno Karabakh than Congress intended. Approximately $12 million of
the $25 million shortfall in aid to Nagorno Karabakh is the result
of under-spending by the Obama Administration during its first two
years in office.

The ANCA’s report – Legislative History of U.S. Assistance
to Nagorno Karabakh – is available online at:
is the Menendez-Alexander exchange

From: A. Papazian–menendez-questions-u-s–under-spending-on-karabakh