Pallone, Knollenberg, and Kirk Speak Out in Favor of Foreign Assistance Package to Armenia

ANCA Continues Effort to Secure $90 million Senate Earmark for Armenia

July 19, 2001

WASHINGTON, DC – As the House of Representatives began its consideration of the foreign aid bill this evening, Congressional Armenian Caucus Co-chairs Frank Pallone (D-NJ) and Joe Knollenberg (R-MI) spoke out in support of increasing aid to Armenia over the level approved by the House, continuing assistance to Nagorno Karabagh, and maintaining restrictions on aid to the government Azerbaijan, reported the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA).

In speeches on the House floor, both Caucus Co-chairs expressed their hope that the joint House-Senate conference committee would act to ensure that the fiscal year 2002 assistance package to Armenia be at least at the fiscal year 2001 level of $90 million. In his remarks, Rep. Knollenberg praised Armenia for its consistent “commitment to a lasting peace and […] notable progress with its economy and its efforts to eliminate corruption.” While explaining that the $82.5 million assistance package is approximately $12.5 million higher than President Bush’s request, he noted that “this is still a little less than last year and I look forward to working with the Chairman [Kolbe] in conference to develop some additional assistance on that issue.” Similarly, Rep. Pallone stated that he was “encouraged” by the assistance levels for Armenia, but added that “Armenia needs at least as much [aid] as last year.” Both representatives called for the immediate release of the remainder of the $20 million aid package for Nagorno Karabagh, of which only $11.8 million has been used for programs benefiting victims of the Nagorno Karabagh conflict since Congressional allocation in 1998. “There is great need in Nagorno Karabagh and USAID has the obligation to commit this money immediately,” emphasized Rep. Knollenberg.

In his overview of the $15 billion foreign aid package, House Foreign Operations Subcommittee Chairman Jim Kolbe explained that assistance to the New Independent States (NIS) will decrease “slightly” from $810 to $768 million. He noted that the bill includes special provisions in support of peace efforts in the South Caucasus, allocates $82.5 million for both Armenia and Georgia, and maintaines Section 907 in its current form. In his remarks on the foreign aid bill, International Relations Committee member Mark Kirk voiced his support for Armenia’s aid package.

The House is expected to take up amendments and hold a final vote on the fiscal year 2002 foreign aid bill early next week. The Senate is expected to take up the legislation soon thereafter. Throughout the process, local ANC chapters have encouraged Armenian Americans from across the country to contact their Members of Congress in support of maintaining assistance levels to Armenia at least at the fiscal year 2001 level of $90 million, and restricting U.S. aid to Azerbaijan due to its ongoing blockades of Armenia and Nagorno Karabagh.


For Immediate Release
Media Contact: Elizabeth S. Chouldjian
Email / Tel: (202) 775-1918
Armenian National Committee of America
888 17th Street, NW, Suite 904, Washington, DC 20006
Tel. (202) 775-1918 * Fax. (202) 775-5648 *
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