WASHINGTON–Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and Secretary of the Treasury Robert Rubin were among the senior Administration officials who briefed representatives of the Armenian National Committee of America and other Washington foreign policy organizations at a February 14 State Department meeting called to discuss the fiscal year 1998 international affairs budget.
During the two hour briefing–State Department and Treasury officials devoted special attention to the President’s proposal to spend $19.4 billion on foreign aid–$900 million of which has been designated for the Newly Independent States.
These figures have been submitted to Congress and will be considered by the House Appropriations Committee–which is charged with writing the actual foreign assistance bill.
In addition to Secretaries Albright and Rubin–other administration officials who participated in the briefing were State Department spokesman Nicholas Burns; John Holum–director of the US Arms Control and Disarmament Agency; Joseph Duffey–director of the US Information Agency; Jill Buckley–the acting administrator for the US Agency for International Development–and Amb. Craig Johnstone from the State Department’s office of Plans and Policy.
ANCA Calls for Increased Support for Democratic Development in Armenia
"We are working with the Congress to secure increased assistance to Armenia in the form of a hard earmark of at least $150 million for the coming fiscal year," said Aram Hamparian–Executive Director of the ANCA.
"In particular–we seek a marked increase in the level of assistance to Armenia dedicated to promoting democratic pluralism–a free press and transparency in government. Significantly more assistance is needed to fund judicial training–educational and exchange programs for members of Parliament–constitutional and electoral reforms–and an independent media which operates freely through newspapers–over the Internet–and on radio and television stations," added Hamparian.