July 28, 2011 - 15:15 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - Today, the House Appropriations Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs approved the Fiscal Year (FY) 2012 State-Foreign Operations Appropriations Bill, which calls for $40 million in economic assistance to Armenia, reported the Armenian Assembly of America (Assembly).
The Subcommittee's Bill did not specify funding levels for Nagorno Karabakh. However, Congress has routinely called for up to $10 million in annual U.S. assistance.
While the Administration's budget request provided $3 million in Foreign Military Financing (FMF) for Armenia and Azerbaijan, and $450,000 more to Azerbaijan in International Military Education Training (IMET), the Subcommittee's draft legislation did not specifically delineate funding levels, but did call for military parity for Armenia and Azerbaijan.
The Subcommittee's Bill also restated the six customary exemptions for humanitarian and other assistance to Section 907 of the Freedom Support Act. Section 907 of the Freedom Support Act was enacted in 1992 and requires the Government of Azerbaijan to take "demonstrable steps to cease all blockades and other offensive uses of force" against Armenia and Nagorno Karabakh.
With passage by the Subcommittee, the Bill is scheduled to be considered by the full House Appropriations Committee on August 3.
Earlier, Armenian Caucus Co-Chair Frank Pallone (D-NJ) circulated a letter urging his U.S. House colleagues to support expanded U.S. aid to Armenia and Nagorno Karabakh, and a number of other pro-Armenia provisions in the Fiscal Year 2012 foreign aid bill.
In his letter, Rep. Pallone, calls upon his fellow Representatives to join with him in co-signing a Congressional letter asking the bipartisan leadership of the Appropriations Subcommittee on State Foreign Operations to support the inclusion of the following provisions: At least $60 million in economic support funds for Armenia; At least $10 million in development aid to Nagorno Karabakh; The strengthening of Section 907 of the FREEDOM Support Act and maintaining military aid parity to Armenia and Azerbaijan; The removal of barriers to U.S.-Nagorno Karabakh contacts and communications; Support for the reinstatement of Nagorno Karabakh in the OSCE Minsk Group peace process; At least $10 million in military aid to Armenia.