Washington briefing: U.S. official: “Democratic reforms” may lead to more rural aid

by Emil Sanamyan

Published: Thursday July 09, 2009

U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Matt Bryza in Yerevan, April 2008. . Photolure

Washington - Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Matt Bryza this week suggested that the recent amnesty of most Armenian opposition activists held in connection with deadly clashes on March 1, 2008, was a welcome, but insufficient step.

"There were these releases that we've asked for quite some time. It's positive," Mr. Bryza was quoted by the RFE/RL Armenian Service as saying during a July 8 visit to Yerevan in his capacity as U.S. envoy for the Karabakh conflict. "We welcome that and at the same time we hope there will be more. We hope they will all be released."

Mr. Bryza also connected the recent cut in Millennium Challenge aid to Armenia to the handling of Yerevan City Council elections, which he criticized, and said there was a need for "re-energizing of democratic reforms" in Armenia.

"We are willing to work with the government of Armenia, as these other reforms go forward, to find additional money," he offered. "Maybe not in the Millennium Challenge Corporation but elsewhere, so that these people in rural areas, who are suffering sometimes from poverty, have an easier life."

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