ANCA seeks to block cuts in aid to Armenia, Artsakh

ANCA seeks to block cuts in aid to Armenia, Artsakh

PanARMENIAN.Net - The House Republican leadership has announced efforts to cut Fiscal Year 2011 (FY2011) spending, which may include a projected reduction in foreign aid programs of special interest to Armenian Americans, reported the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA).

Sources on Capitol Hill report that the House Appropriations Committee is meeting today to review cuts in the Continuing Resolution (CR), adopted by Congress last year to fund U.S. government programs until Congress makes a final determination about the current year's spending levels. Speaking publicly recently on this topic, House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers (R-KY) explained, "Never before has Congress undertaken a task of this magnitude. The cuts in this CR will represent the largest reduction in discretionary spending in the history of our nation."

It is not clear yet exactly how this will impact aid to Armenia and Nagorno Karabakh, and other Armenian American aid priorities, but many legislators have, in recent weeks, targeted international affairs spending for sharp cuts. Details on proposed foreign aid allocations to Armenia and Nagorno Karabakh will likely be available later this week.

Full House consideration of the measure, scheduled for next week, may include additional adjustments in FY2011 spending through amendments offered on the floor. No date has yet been announced for Senate consideration of the CR.

Seeking to protect the U.S. aid programs to Armenia and Nagorno Karabakh, the ANCA is in touch with legislators in support of these investments in peace and long-term stability. Letters sent to Congress underscore how these allocations reflect our values as Americans, advance our national interests in a pivotal region of the world, and reinforce our ties to Armenia, a friend and ally of the United States. In Washington, DC, through chapter-level local contacts, and via broad-based on-line activism, the ANCA is asking legislators to support the following foreign aid priorities:

-At least $50 million in economic aid to Armenia, in order to strengthen Armenia's independence and help offset the devastating impact of dual Turkish and Azerbaijani blockades.

-At least $10 million in military aid to Armenia, with the understanding that, based on a long-standing practice and in the interest of regional stability, Azerbaijan does not receive any more military aid than Armenia.

-At least $10 million in development aid to Nagorno Karabakh.

-Maintain Section 907 of the FREEDOM Support Act, and include a provision to end military aid to Azerbaijan if its leadership continues to threaten to renew Baku's aggression against Nagorno Karabakh or Armenia.

ANCA Webmails to members of the House and Senate highlight the constructive cooperation of Armenia with the United States on a broad range of regional, security, and peace-keeping challenges: "The Armenian government sent troops to Iraq as part of our Coalition operations, has forces in Kosovo as part of NATO peacekeeping efforts, and has sent a contingent of forces to Afghanistan in support of our nation's military mission. In addition, Armenia is actively and constructively engaged in the OSCE Minsk Group's Nagorno Karabakh peace process and, despite any meaningful reciprocation from Turkey, remains party to a set of Protocols aimed at normalizing bilateral ties between the two nations."

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