WASHINGTON, DC – The House and Senate have agreed to send $45 million in U.S. aid to Armenia and $2 million in demining assistance for Artsakh as part of the Fiscal Year 2022 (FY22) Foreign Aid Bill adopted this week by the U.S. House. The sweeping appropriations measure also calls for a report assessing the possibilities of additional attacks against Artsakh (Nagorno Karabakh) by a South Caucasus country and additional oversight of how funds to Armenia and Azerbaijan are used, reported the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA).
“The FY22 foreign aid bill represents yet another missed opportunity for a robust U.S. aid package – of at least $50 million – in direct humanitarian aid to the more than 100,000 Armenians ethnically cleansed by Azerbaijan from Artsakh,” said ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian. “This long-overdue aid – which we are already working to secure in the FY23 bill – is desperately needed within Artsakh to help Armenian families rebuild their lives and resettle in safety upon their indigenous homeland.”
The FY22 foreign aid bill specifies that “not later than 90 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Director of National Intelligence, consistent with the protection of intelligence sources and methods, shall submit to the appropriate congressional committees a report assessing the likelihood of a South Caucasus country taking military action against another country (including in Nagorno-Karabakh or any other disputed territory). Such report shall include an indication of the strategic balance in the region, including with respect to the offensive military capabilities of each South Caucasus country.” The committees that would receive the report include the Senate and House Committees on Intelligence, Foreign Affairs, and Armed Services. The South Caucasus countries referenced in the bill are Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia.
The report accompanying the FY22 foreign aid bill instructs that “prior to the initial obligation of funds appropriated under title IV of the Act for assistance for Armenia and Azerbaijan, the Secretary of State shall consult with the Committees on Appropriations on the proposed uses of such funds.” This would include specific oversight of U.S. military funding to Azerbaijan, which was the subjecting of a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report, requested by Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Menendez (D-CA), which revealed that the State Department consistently failed to inform Congress of the impact of over $164 million in assistance to Baku on the military balance between Azerbaijan and Armenia.
Last week, in letters to Senate and House Appropriations Committee Chairs and Ranking Members, Congressional Armenian Caucus Co-Chairs Frank Pallone (D-NJ) and Jackie Speier (D-CA), Vice-Chair Adam Schiff (D-CA), and Representatives Anna Eshoo (D-CA) and Jim Costa (D-CA) called for $50,000,000 to be “made available for assistance in Nagorno-Karabakh, used to provide humanitarian assistance and resettlement support to the Armenian victims of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, both those residing in and those displaced from Nagorno-Karabakh. Such assistance will help to meet basic human needs, including maternity healthcare and drinking water programs.”
The ANCA, in letters to over 20 key Senate and House members, made the case for sending $50 million in U.S. aid for Artsakh, noting “As you and your professional staff are aware, since Azerbaijan’s attack against Artsakh, the U.S. Agency for International Development has delivered negligible humanitarian aid to over 90,000 displaced Armenians. This is not acceptable and inconsistent with America’s broad, rich, and deep tradition of assisting victims of war crimes.”
Over 50,000 ANCA Rapid Responders have already contacted their Senators and Representatives in support of expanded U.S. aid to Artsakh and Armenia. To take action, visit anca.org/aid.
The ANCA’s calls for expanded aid to Artsakh come as Azerbaijan continues its shelling of Khramort and Nakhichanik of the Askeran region of Armenia and the villages of Khnushinak and Karmir Shuka of the Martuni region in Artsakh. Earlier this week, Armenian Sergeant Hrach Arami Manasaryan was killed by Azerbaijani gunfire on the western Armenia-Azerbaijan border in Armenia’s Ararat Province.