WASHINGTON (Dow Jones)The Clinton Administration has asked Congress to grant $900 million of foreign aid in fiscal 1998 for Russia and the Newly Independent States–which represent the former Soviet countries.
Almost half this money is scheduled to go to Russia–with $100 million going to Armenia–said US Agency for International Development administrator Thomas Dine before a House International Relations subcommittee.
The relatively large amount of Armenian aid may encourage Armenia to maintain its 1994 cease-fire with neighboring Azerbaijan–House members suggested.
The large aid package is necessary for four reasons–Dine said: to encourage economic restructuring–promote democratic reform–encourage social stabilization and regional cooperation.
Central Asiadefined by Dine as Kazakhstan–Uzbekistan–Kyrgyzstan–Turkmen’stan– and Tajikistanis scheduled to receive $148 million in foreign aid.
This aid is important–Dine said–to help the countries develop tax codes and a legal framework under which they can develop Caspian Sea oil and gas.
Ukraine and Azerbaijan are scheduled to get the remainder of the aid package.
Subcommittee Chairman Doug Bereuter of Nebraska said he favored giving a substantial aid package to the NIS–but said he isn’t sure the $900 million package will get through Congress at a time when all foreign aid is being closely scrutinized.