YEREVAN (RFE/RL) — President Armen Sarkissian has still not received a financial report on the use of $100 million raised by a pan-Armenian charity for Nagorno-Karabakh and controversially donated to Armenia’s government.
The Hayastan All-Armenian Fund launched an international fundraising campaign immediately after the outbreak of the war in Karabakh on September 27. Hundreds of thousands of Armenians from around the world responded to its appeal for urgent aid to Karabakh and its population, donating roughly $170 million within weeks.
The charity headquartered in Yerevan redirected more than $100 million of those proceeds to the government. The Armenian Finance Ministry said on November 24 that the sum will finance the government’s “infrastructure, social and healthcare expenditures” necessitated by the six-week war.
Sarkissian publicly criticized the donation, saying that it undermined donors’ trust in Hayastan. In a December 6 statement issued by his office, he said the government should consider redefining the hefty contribution as a “loan” and eventually reimbursing the fund.
Sarkissian also urged the government to release a detailed report on how it has used the economic and humanitarian aid to Karabakh. The president is still awaiting such a report.
Hayastan’s executive director, Haykak Arshamyan, said on Friday, December 18, that he has asked the Ministry of Finance to specify in writing about “how that money has been used and will be used.” He said the fund has not yet received an adequate response that can be forwarded to President Sarkissian.