*Administration proposes 40 percent increase in assistance to Azerbaijan. ANCA opposed to rewarding Azerbaijan’s blockade with increased aid.
WASHINGTON–The Armenian National Committee of America has criticized the sharp cut in aid to Armenia and the dramatic increase in assistance to Azerbaijan contained in the Administration’s fiscal year 2000 budget proposal submitted yesterday to Congress.
"The spending priorities in the Administration’s fiscal year 2000 budget would reward Azerbaijan’s aggression–blockades–and refusal to seriously engage in the Karabakh peace process," said ANCA Government Affairs Director Chris Hekimian.
"We will work with Congress to address this matter and to ensure sufficient aid levels to meet America’s commitment to the continued development of Armenia and Karabakh as they face devastating Turkish and Azerbaijani blockades," he added.
According to budget figures released yesterday by the White House–the President’s proposal would reduce aid to Armenia by 11 percent–from an estimated $79.9 million in 1999 to $71.5 million for fiscal year 2000. The aid level to Azerbaijan would–however–increase by 41 percent–from $23.8 million to $33.5 million.
This aid–in accordance with Section 907 of the Freedom Support Act–would be channeled largely through non-governmental organizations until Azerbaijan has lifted its blockades of Armenia and Nagorno Karabakh. Aid levels for Georgia in the President’s budget would remain essentially the same–at approximately $84 million.