WASHINGTON–Congressional Armenian Caucus Co-Chairmen Frank Pallone (D-NJ) and Joe Knollenberg (R-MI) are currently collecting signatures among their House colleagues on a letter urging the leaders of the US State-Foreign Operations Appropriations Subcommittee to support provisions in the FY09 foreign aid bill that advance US interests and American values in Armenia and the surrounding region, reported the Armenian National Committee of America.
The letter, addressed to Subcommittee Chairwoman Nita Lowey (D-NY) and Ranking Member Frank Wolf (R-VA), outlines six key policy priorities:
1. Cutting all military aid to Azerbaijan due to its threats of renewed war
2. Allocating $5 million in military aid to Armenia
3. Continuing Section 907 of the Freedom Support Act
4. Allocating $70 million in economic aid to Armenia
5. Allocating $10 million in development aid to Nagorno Karabakh
6. Restoring diplomatic relations with Nagorno Karabakh
The budget proposed by the White House last month sought to dramatically slash aid to Armenia by 59 percent, and, once again, proposed tipping the military aid balance in favor of Azerbaijan, despite Baku’s threats to use it growing military arsenal to restart its war against Armenia and Nagorno Karabakh.
Last week’s renewed attacks by the Azerbaijani army in the area of Levonarkh in Martakert, led to as many as eight deaths. The Nagorno Karabakh Foreign Ministry has asked that the "OSCE launch a comprehensive investigation of the incident, give an official political evaluation of the Azeri authorities’ actions, as well as conduct an immediate crisis-monitoring in the incident zone, in order to prevent similar violations in future."
Members of Congress, led by the Armenian Caucus, are seeking to reverse the proposed cut in aid to Armenia and to enact a constructive set of foreign policies toward Armenia and the region.