US Senate calls on to continue aid to Nagorno Karabakh

The US Senate Appropriations Committee, in its version of the Fiscal Year 2013 foreign aid bill, called for continued aid to Nagorno Karabakh (Artsakh), but failed to include specific dollar figures for aid to Armenia, effectively signaling support for President Obama’s proposal to cut economic aid to Armenia by nineteen percent, informs quoting the Armenian National Committee of America.

“The Committee recommends assistance for victims of the Nagorno Karabakh conflict in amounts consistent with prior years, and for ongoing needs related to the conflict. The Committee urges a peaceful resolution of the conflict”, the decision of Senate says.

This represents progress over last year’s Senate Committee report, which limited aid to only to “humanitarian assistance,” and did not specify that the amount should be consistent with prior years.

The US President, earlier this year, proposed a total of $32,543,000 in FY13 economic aid to Armenia, including $27,219,000 in Economic Support Fund, $2,824,000 in International Narcotics Control and Law Enforcement assistance and $2,500,000 in Global Health Programs. His proposal represents a 19% cut from the $40,000,000 allocated by Congress for FY12. The Senate, by not including a dollar amount for Armenia, effectively signaled support for the President’s proposed reduction. The U.S. House, which earlier this month approved a $40 million economic aid package for Armenia, will, most likely, seek to reconcile its Armenia aid figures with the Senate version during a conference committee of legislators from both houses.

Similar to last year, the Senate was silent on military aid parity for Armenia and Azerbaijan, which represents tacit support for the President’s budget request that equal amounts of Foreign Military Financing ($2,700,000) and International Military Education and Training ($600,000) be provided to both Yerevan and Baku.

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