The assistance budget of the United States is a reflection of our ongoing and emerging national security challenges, President Obama’s signature policy and development initiatives, our security commitments to allies and partners, and our conflict prevention, nonproliferation, and peacekeeping activities around the world. Because of new global priorities and developments over the past year (including the Ebola crisis, ISIS, Syria and Ukraine), some difficult decisions had to be made regarding our assistance programs globally. These new priorities meant that assistance funding to many countries all over the world, including in Europe, was significantly reduced. It is within this context that a reduction was made to the amount of assistance funds for Armenia. These reductions in funding for certain of our assistance programs in Armenia were necessitated by budgetary demands and additional global priorities, and in no way reflect the quality of the programs that have been implemented, or the strength of the U.S.-Armenia relationship.
The reduction in the amount of assistance funds to Armenia will affect both USAID and the U.S. Embassy’s Office of Public Affairs. The exact figures will not be confirmed for some time, but the Embassy is proactively planning for a reduction in some new programming and an early phase-out of certain other programs.
Despite these reductions, USAID Armenia remains actively engaged and will continue to focus on the highest priorities outlined in its 2013 country strategy for Armenia, which reflected input from the Armenian government, civil society, and our Armenian partners. These priorities include economic growth in rural development, tourism, water and energy security and management, development of human capital, municipal reform, anti-corruption, and child protection.
The Embassy’s Office of Public Affairs will continue to support Track II programs that promote reconciliation with Armenia’s neighbors, and will continue to implement the Democracy Commission Small Grants program, which aims to promote civil society, foster democratic processes, and increase respect for human rights in Armenia.
U.S. Government assistance to Armenia supports many other areas of bilateral cooperation as well, including: our continuing support for the development of procedures that ensure the safe operation of the Metsamor Nuclear Power Plant and greater energy security for Armenia, strengthening the justice sector and the ability of law enforcement to combat corruption, and training the police to build the capacity of the new Police Domestic Violence Unit. The Department of Defense also continues to work closely with the Ministry of Defense on increasing the capability of Armenian peacekeepers and supporting defense reform.
The United States has provided over 2 billion dollars in assistance to Armenia since 1992.