ANCA Seeks $5 Million in Aid to NKR; Zero Military Aid to Azerbaijan as House Appropriations Subcommittee Casts Initial Vote on FY2016 Foreign Aid Bill
Armenian American foreign aid priorities will be among a broad range of US assistance issues addressed this week by members of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on State-Foreign Operations, as they start drafting their Fiscal Year 2016 (FY2016) bill, reported the Armenian National Committee of America.
The Subcommittee’s consideration of the FY2016 foreign aid bill will be webcast live on Wednesday, June 3rd at 10:30am EST.
As in the past, the specific text of the measure will not be made available until after the Subcommittee’s consideration. The ANCA will be sharing details on issues of concern to Armenian Americans as they become available.
In the run up to this Wednesday’s vote, the ANCA is urging friends of Armenia across America to reach out to their legislators by urging them to support these aid priorities:
1. At least $5 million in U.S. developmental aid to Nagorno Karabakh.
2. Zero-out U.S. military aid to Azerbaijan until it agrees with OSCE Minsk Group calls to pull back its snipers, ceases its aggression, renounces violence, and commits to a purely peaceful resolution of regional conflicts.
3. At least $40 million in U.S. economic assistance to Armenia.
4. A special focus on addressing the difficulties in providing humanitarian and resettlement aid to Armenian, Assyrian and other at-risk minorities in Syria, as well as targeted aid to help Armenia settle thousands fleeing from Syria.
5. At least 10% of U.S. assistance to Georgia to be used for job creation programs in the Samtskhe-Javakheti region of that country.
6. Language strengthening Section 907 restrictions on U.S. aid to Azerbaijan.
“Please join with us in asking Congress to send a strong message of support for Artsakh, by increasing direct aid to Nagorno Karabakh and Armenia, zeroing-out military aid to Azerbaijan, prioritizing assistance to Javakhk, and supporting our at-risk communities in the Middle East,” said ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian. “U.S. foreign aid policy represents a vital tool both for promoting regional peace and also for complementing U.S. efforts – such as the recently signed U.S.-Armenia Trade and Investment Framework Agreement or the long overdue new U.S.-Armenia Double Tax Treaty – to expand U.S.-Armenia economic cooperation.”
Earlier this year, the ANCA’s Kate Nahapetian testified before the House Appropriations Subcommittee, outlining the Armenian American community’s foreign aid priorities.
In February, the Obama-Biden Administration released its FY2016 budget which calls for yet another reduction in U.S. economic assistance to both Armenia and Azerbaijan, while maintaining parity in appropriated military aid to these two countries.
The President’s proposal of $18,360,000 in Economic Support Funds for Armenia in Fiscal Year (FY) 2016 would, if approved by Congress, represent a record low in such aid since Armenia’s independence. The White House’s proposal for Armenia is over $2 million less than FY 2014’s actual economic aid allocation, and less than half of the $40 million requested in a Congressional Armenian Caucus letter and ANCA Congressional testimony submitted last year.