Armenia largely spared amid U.S. foreign aid cuts

by Emil Sanamyan

Published: Monday February 14, 2011

President Obama working on his remarks with aides looking on. Pete Souza / White House

Washington - White House has requested $43.45 million in Fiscal Year 2012 assistance to Armenia, an amount that is about $1 million below what the Administration requested in FY2011 and what Congress enacted for FY2010.

According to the budget proposed by the Obama Administration on February 14 overall U.S. assistance to Europe, Eurasia and Central Asia would decline by $115 million from $742 million in FY2010 to $627 million in FY2012.

As oart of the proposal, Azerbaijan would have its overall assistance reduced from $27 million to just over $20 million.

Georgia, on the other hand, would get one of the largest increases with the Obama Administration suggesting $87 million in FY2012, compared to $78 million enacted by Congress in FY2010.

This amount is in addition to a new Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) program which is expected to be signed later this year, when Georgia's current five-year $295 million MCC compact concludes.

For its part, Armenia's five-year $180 million MCC program is also due to be completed this year but no plans for a follow-up have been announced.

Reacting to the request, he Armenian National Committee of America once again expressed disappointment with the Obama Administration's actions.

ANCA criticized the $1 million reduction over previous two years and that more military aid was requested for Azerbaijan ($3.9mln) than for Armenia ($3.45mln).

ANCA also reported that the Republican majority in the House of Representatives was seeking more substantial cuts U.S. foreign aid programs for FY2011 and FY2012, but it is so far unclear how Armenia programs might be affected.

In mid-2010 House appropriators agreed to about $47 million in FY2011 aid to Armenia with an additional $10 million in aid to Nagorno Karabakh.

But Democratic-controlled Congress adjourned without passing the final budget for the fiscal year that ends next September. Republican-controlled House of Representatives will need to agree that spending bill with the White House by early March.

(Update: An earlier version of this article incorrectcly estimated the dollar volume of MCC's program in Armenia.)

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