Apropriations Bill Maintains Parity Beteween Armenia and Azerbaijan


WASHINGTON — As the first session of the 112th Congress nears completion, the House and Senate approved the Fiscal Year (FY) 2012 Omnibus Appropriations Bill, which combined nine outstanding appropriations measures, including the State, Foreign Operations Appropriations Bill.

Although the overall omnibus bill cut discretionary spending by $31 billion, but it did not reduce aid to Armenia, reported the Armenian Assembly of America. The final conference agreement supported the administration’s budget request for Armenia, which was $40 million in economic assistance. This number is consistent with the levels called for in the House and Senate versions of the FY2012 State, Foreign Operations Appropriations Bill.

In addition to continuing aid to Armenia, the House and Senate conferees to the bill specifically recommended “assistance for victims of the Nagorno-Karabagh conflict at levels consistent with prior years, and for ongoing needs related to the conflict.”

As passed by the House and Senate, the consolidated bill makes funds available for the Southern Caucasus region to “be used for confidence-building measures and other activities in furtherance of the peaceful resolution of conflicts, including in Nagorno-Karabagh.”

Consistent with long-standing US policy, the final report language also urged a “peaceful resolution” of the Nagorno-Karabagh conflict. The conference agreement also maintained parity for Foreign Military Financing (FMF) and International Military Education and Training (IMET) for Armenia and Azerbaijan.

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Overall, the omnibus bill provides $626.7 million in assistance for the countries of Europe, Eurasia and Central Asia (AEECA), which is $69 million below the FY 2011 level.

“Throughout the appropriations process, the Assembly worked with the House and Senate, and in particular our friends on the House and Senate Appropriations Committees to make sure that funding for Armenia was maintained,” stated Assembly Executive Director Bryan Ardouny.

The final language also allows additional funding to be used for ongoing needs related to the Nagorno-Karabagh conflict, and we will continue to press forward to ensure robust assistance in that regard,” added Ardouny.

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