WASHINGTON, D.C. – The US Senate Appropriations Committee yesterday adopted the Fiscal Year (FY) 2017 State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs (SFOPS) appropriations bill, which covers U.S. economic, humanitarian, and military assistance to the South Caucasus, reported the Armenian Assembly of America.
The Committee recommends $24.112 million for Armenia and $10.936 million for Azerbaijan in non-military assistance, as well as $1 million in Foreign Military Financing (FMF) and $600,000 in International Military Education Training (IMET) to both countries. Recognizing that Armenia has seen a dramatic increase in refugees, the third largest per capita in Europe, “the Committee supports assistance for refugees in Armenia, particularly minority groups from the Middle East who have fled persecution and conflict in Syria and Iraq.” The Committee’s report also highlighted six priority countries, including Armenia with respect to addressing the needs of vulnerable children.
Similar to last year’s mark-up, the Committee recommends “assistance for victims of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict in amounts consistent with prior fiscal years, and for ongoing needs related to the conflict.”
The Committee also urges a peaceful resolution to the conflict, which, given Azerbaijan’s recent and unprecedented attacks against Armenia and Nagorno Karabakh, underscores the importance of implementing a robust cease-fire monitoring system along the Line of Contact.
The Committee also reiterated its support for mine clearance programs and expressed its concern “with territorial restrictions on demining activities in the region and recommends continued funds for, and the geographic expansion of, such programs.”
The Senate Appropriations Bill also maintains Section 907 of the Freedom Support Act, restating the six customary exemptions for humanitarian and other assistance to Azerbaijan.