July 10, 2009 - 13:20 AMT
U.S. Senate Committee on Appropriations approved $18 million reduction in funding to Armenia
Today, the U.S. Senate Committee on Appropriations approved the Fiscal Year (FY) 2010 State, Foreign Operations Appropriations Bill by a vote of 29 to 1, reported the Armenian Assembly of America (Assembly). The Bill provides $30 million for Armenia, which is $18 million less than the FY 2009 level.

"U.S. assistance to Armenia helps to offset the impact of Turkey's ongoing blockade of Armenia, and the Assembly will continue to work with both the Senate and House to ensure the best possible outcome for Armenia and Nagorno Karabakh," said Assembly Executive Director Bryan Ardouny.

The Senate followed the lead of the Obama Administration, which proposed a sharp reduction in funding to Armenia from last year's level of $48 million. The Senate bill also mirrored the Administration's request with respect to assistance to Azerbaijan, calling for $22 million.

According to Assembly sources, at the time of this release, Foreign Military Financing (FMF) and International Military Education Training (IMET) were not delineated for Armenia and Azerbaijan. Although the numbers are not currently available, the Assembly expects military parity to be maintained. Sources also indicate that language pertaining to Section 907 of the FREEDOM Support Act, which was strengthened by the House Appropriations Committee last month, will remain in place.

The full U.S. House of Representatives is currently deliberating its version of the State Foreign Operations Bill with passage expected later tonight. A House-Senate Conference Committee will be formed to work out the differences in the two bills before it is sent to the President to be signed into law.