U.S. Assistance to Armenia 2010

In response to news reports carried recently by several media outlets regarding assistance from the United States for Armenia, I would like to inform you of the following:

Since international assistance to Armenia began over twenty years ago with the relief effort following the 1988 earthquake, the U.S. government has provided almost two billion dollars of humanitarian aid and development assistance for Armenia´s economic, social and governance sectors. The Obama Administration´s request for Armenia for FY 2010 ($30 million) is 25 percent above the last Bush Administration budget request ($24 million was requested for FY 2009; Congress doubled this request to $48 million). The actual level of assistance for Armenia for FY 2010 has not yet been determined by the U.S. Congress.

With respect to funding for Nagorno-Karabakh, there has never been a budget request sent to Congress because there is no mechanism for doing so in the budget process. Rather, the humanitarian assistance provided to Nagorno-Karabakh is worked out afterwards, during the budget negotiation between Congress and the Administration.

Regarding military assistance, the Administration´s FMF request for Armenia in FY 2010 is the same level as Armenia received in FY 2009. There has been no decrease. The specific increase for Azerbaijan is linked to U.S. priorities in peacekeeping and maritime security, particularly regarding proliferation and drug trafficking on the Caspian Sea. The respective levels requested for Armenia and Azerbaijan are carefully considered and calibrated to ensure that they do not adversely affect the military balance in the region or undermine efforts for a peaceful settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict; they do, however, provide appropriate assistance to each country that will enhance their interoperability and military professionalism.

The United States remains committed to its longstanding partnership with Armenia and the Armenian people. Helping the people of Armenia has been, and continues to be, a high priority.

Marie L. Yovanovitch