WASHINGTON (RFE/RL) — The administration of President Barack Obama has called for a nearly 18 percent reduction in annual US government assistance to Armenia, which has steadily decreased over the past decade.
The administration’s draft budget for the fiscal year 2013 unveiled on Monday would allocate $32.5 million in economic aid and $3.3 million in separate military funding to the country, down from a total of $43.5 million that was approved by the US Congress for this year.
The proposed reduction seems to stem from a further cut in overall US aid to Europe, the South Caucasus and Central Asia sought by the administration. The budget proposal attributes that to the “achievement of a number of assistance goals” in the region.
Nevertheless, the two main Armenian-American advocacy groups criticized the
proposed aid cut for Armenia, suggesting that they will lobby Congress to reject it.
“While we appreciate the Administration’s decision to maintain military [aid] parity between Armenia and Azerbaijan, given Turkey’s nearly 20-year blockade of Armenia and the security threat in the region due to Azerbaijan’s ongoing war rhetoric against Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh, funding at the FY 2012 level should at least be maintained,” Bryan Ardouny, executive director of the Armenian Assembly of America, said in a statement.