OBAMA CALLS FOR $40 MILLION IN ASSISTANCE TO ARMENIA, BUT BUDGET FALLS SHORT: ANCA

Tert.am
11:06 ~U 02.02.10

President Barack Obama's fiscal year 2011 budget (FY11), released
earlier today, calls for $40 million USD in assistance to Armenia -
$10 million USD more than his FY10 request, but still $1 million USD
less than the total appropriated by Congress last year, reports the
Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA).

The figure, while representing a substantial increase over the U.S.

president's last request, falls just short of the $41 million USD
actually appropriated last year by Congress, and far short of the $70
million USD request that was made last year by the Armenian Caucus
and broadly supported by Armenian American advocacy organizations.

The president's budget proposes maintaining Foreign Military Financing
(FMF) assistance parity between Armenia and Azerbaijan, requesting $3.5
million USD for each country. The U.S. administration did not extend
the parity principle to International Military Training, Education,
and Training (IMET), instead seeking to provide twice as much for
Azerbaijan ($900,000 USD) than Armenia ($450,000 USD) in this area.

The president requested $22.12 million USD in assistance to Azerbaijan,
$120,000 USD more than appropriated by Congress last year.

"We welcome the decision by the Obama Administration to ask for $10
million USD more in economic aid to Armenia this year than he did
last year, and also his proposal to maintain parity in a key area
of military aid to Armenia and Azerbaijan," said Aram Hamparian,
Executive Director of the ANCA.

"We look forward... to working with all our Congressional friends in
building on these numbers and securing the adoption of increased aid
levels and constructive policy provisions that will contribute to the
strengthening of the U.S.-Armenia relationship and the search for a
fair and lasting peace in the region."