WASHINGTON — This week, President Barack Obama sent to Congress his annual budget recommendations for Fiscal Year 2016 (FY16), which continued the downward trend in funding to the South Caucasus region. Specifically, the White House budget includes $18.36 million in economic support funds for Armenia, the lowest level proposed by the Administration to date. The administration maintains military parity between Armenia and Azerbaijan, at $1.7 million for Foreign Military Financing (FMF) and $600,000 for International Military Education and Training (IMET). In addition, the Administration proposed $1.7 million in international narcotics control and law enforcement, which is the same as last year.
“Given the proposed decrease, the Assembly will be working with Members of Congress to ensure that robust U.S. assistance to Armenia and Artsakh is achieved, and that Armenian American concerns regarding Azerbaijan’s constant cease-fire violations, bellicose rhetoric and the over 20-year blockade of Armenia are addressed,” stated Armenian Assembly of America Executive Director Bryan Ardouny. Additionally, the Assembly will continue to urge Congress to strengthen Section 907 of the Freedom Support Act and to cease all military assistance to Azerbaijan.
In total, the President’s FY16 request equals $22.36 million, a reduction of $2.34 million from last year’s request.