WASHINGTON, DC — The Senate Appropriations Committee has approved its version of the Fiscal Year (FY) 2013 State, Foreign Operations Appropriations Bill outlining U.S. funding and policy priorities abroad, including Armenia and Nagorno Karabakh.
The Appropriations Committee recommended “assistance for victims of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict in amounts consistent with prior years, and for ongoing needs related to the conflict.” In addition, the Committee urged “a peaceful resolution to the conflict” and the Bill itself made funds available for “confidence-building measures and other activities in furtherance of the peaceful resolution of conflicts, including in Nagorno Karabakh.”
“The Senate Appropriations Committee’s inclusion of assistance to Nagorno Karabakh advances important US foreign policy and humanitarian priorities in the region and will provide for those most affected by this conflict,” said a spokesperson for Senator Mark Kirk (R-IL).
Sources familiar with the Bill noted that funding for Armenia in terms of economic and military assistance mirrors the President’s request, which included the following: $27.22 million in Economic Support Funds, $2.5 million in Global Health Programs, and $2.82 million in International Narcotics Control and Law Enforcement. The Administration’s request also called for $2.7 million in Foreign Military Financing (FMF) for Armenia and allocates $600,000 each in International Military Education Training (IMET).
The Bill also restated the six customary exemptions for humanitarian and other assistance to Section 907 of the Freedom Support Act. Section 907 was enacted in 1992 and requires the Government of Azerbaijan to take “demonstrable steps to cease all blockades and other offensive uses of force” against Armenia and Nagorno Karabakh.
Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Chairman of the State, Foreign Operations Appropriations Subcommittee noted that while overall funding in this “bipartisan bill” is “$2.6 billion below the President’s budget request, and $1.2 billow below the Fiscal Year 2012 level” at the same time still “addresses the priorities of Senators of both parties.”
Further action on this Bill and its counterpart in the House of Representatives has not been scheduled.