Position

ANCA FY 2018 Foreign Aid Priorities:

1) At least $8 million in US developmental aid to Artsakh (Nagorno Karabakh).

2) At least $20 million to support implementation of the Royce-Engel Peace proposals.

3) Zero-out US military aid to Azerbaijan until it ceases its aggression, renounces violence, and  commits to a purely peaceful resolution of regional conflicts.

4) Language strengthening Section 907 restrictions on US aid to Azerbaijan.

5) At least $40 million in US economic assistance to Armenia, and $11 million in US military aid.

6) At least $40 million to support Armenia's efforts to serve as a regional safe haven for at-risk populations fleeing violence in the Middle East.

The bonds of friendship and shared values between Americans and Armenians span over a century.

Americans of Armenian heritage have served the US in every war since the Civil War, and proudly serve today in every branch of the military.

Today, with the generous help of our Congress, the Republic of Armenia is a strong friend of America, sending troops to support our operations in Iraq, Kosovo, and Afghanistan.

Nagorno Karabakh, with the support of direct U.S. assistance, stands today as a constructive partner in the search for a democratic and lasting peace in the Caucasus.

It is in this spirit of friendship and shared democratic values that the ANCA urges Congress and the Administration to support the following key priorities for Fiscal Year (FY) 2018:

Nagorno Karabakh:

U.S. aid to Nagorno Karabakh represents a small but crucial investment in the stability of a strategic region. Over the course of the past 2 decades, U.S. aid has provided maternal health care and clean drinking water, and is currently funding the latter stages of a multi-year HALO Trust land mine and unexploded ordnance clearance effort. Parallel to de-mining, there is also a need for water systems as well as rehabilitation centers for children, adults and the elderly with physical and cognitive disabilities.

-- The ANCA requests not less than $8 million in Fiscal Year 2018 aid for Nagorno Karabakh, including for de-mining, rehabilitation programs, and water supply systems.

Consistent with U.S leadership in advancing the pro-peace mission of the OSCE Minsk Group, and in light of Azerbaijan’s arms build-up and escalating aggression against Armenia and Nagorno Karabakh:

-- The ANCA seeks not less than $20 million to support implementation of the Royce-Engel peace proposals, prioritizing the placement of OSCE-monitored, advanced gunfire locator systems and sound-ranging equipment to determine the source of attacks along the line of contact.

-- The ANCA seeks the suspension of U.S. military aid to Azerbaijan until its government ceases its attacks against Armenia and Nagorno Karabakh, ends its threat of renewed war, and agrees to the peaceful resolution of regional conflicts.

-- The ANCA seeks the addition of the following certification requirement to the President’s waiver authority under Section 907 of the FREEDOM Support Act: "In the last fiscal year, Azerbaijan has not taken hostile action, either through military force or incitement, including but not limited to threatening pronouncements by government officials toward Armenia or Nagorno Karabakh, and has both stated and demonstrated its commitment to pursuing a lasting peace with Armenia and Nagorno Karabakh through solely non-violent means.”

Support for Armenia's Independence:

The ANCA recognizes the longstanding leadership of Congress in strengthening the U.S.-Armenia partnership, a relationship founded upon a shared commitment to faith, freedom, and democratic values. U.S. assistance has empowered progress in the areas of democracy, rule of law, freedom of expression, and free enterprise.

Armenia provides a safe haven for refugees, participates in U.S.-led peace-keeping deployments, supports the peaceful resolution of regional disputes, and cooperates, both bilaterally and multilaterally, on political, economic, military, and cultural issues. Our nations have signed a Trade and Investment Framework Agreement and new U.S. investments, totaling over $500,000,000, have recently been made by U.S. firms in Armenia's energy and mineral industries.

Blockaded by Azerbaijan and Turkey, Armenia confronts serious challenges to its security and its sovereignty. U.S. economic and military assistance plays a vital role in strengthening Armenia's independence, providing this pro-Western republic with a greater range of strategic options in standing up to regional powers. Military aid enables Armenia's membership in NATO's Partnership for Peace, promotes NATO interoperability, and supports Armenia's participation in peacekeeping operations, including: deployments to countries ranging from Afghanistan (ISAF & Resolute Support Mission) and Iraq (Polish command) to Kosovo (KFOR), Lebanon (UNIFIL), and Mali (MINUSMA) – all since 2004.

Increased Foreign Military Financing (FMF) can modernize the Training Center for Armenia's Peacekeeping Brigade, bringing this facility up to NATO/Partnership for Peace specifications, helping Armenia to deploy a larger number of highly-trained peacekeepers and support the creation of a Role 2 Field Hospital and Explosive Ordnance Disposal/Counter-Improvised Explosive Devices Engineering unit to support peacekeeping missions. Increased International Military Educational Training (IMET) can expand U.S. training opportunities for Armenian officers, NCOs, and civil servants, advancing U.S.-Armenia defense cooperation goals.

-- The ANCA calls for not less than $40 million in Fiscal Year 2018 economic aid and $11 million in military (FMF and IMET) aid is appropriated to Armenia.

Regional Safe Haven for Middle East Refugees:

More than 22,000 individuals from Syria have sought safety in Armenia, which, despite being one of the poorest nations to accept Syrian refugees, has received only modest levels of U.S. and international relief and resettlement assistance. Armenia has demonstrated its willingness to play a larger role as a regional safe haven for Middle East refugees, including religious minorities, but lacks the financial resources to offer the transition assistance needed by families fleeing violence. Areas of greatest need include short-term housing/rental assistance and support for social and economic integration.

-- The ANCA requests not less than $40,000,000 is appropriated to support Armenia's efforts to serve as a regional safe haven for at-risk populations fleeing violence in the Middle East.