WASHINGTON, JULY 21, ARMENPRESS: The U.S. Senate voted 98 to 1 on July 20 to approve the Fiscal Year (FY) 2006 Foreign Operations Appropriations Bill which recommends $75 million in assistance to Armenia and an additional $3 million in humanitarian aid to Nagorno-Karabakh, the Armenian Assembly of America (AAA) reported. The Senate action supports without changes the Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh provisions passed last month by the Senate State, Foreign Operations Appropriations Subcommittee and the full Appropriations Committee. The level of funding, equivalent to the amount Armenia received in 2005, reflects a $20 million increase over the Administration request to Congress made earlier this year. The overall funding level to the former Soviet States was also increased to $565 million, a 17 percent jump over the Administration’s request for the region.
Wednesday vote also allocated $5 million in Foreign Military Financing and $750,000 for International Military Education and Training to Armenia as requested by the Administration. These funds will improve inter-operability between Armenia’s military and its Western partners, upgrade Armenia’s communication systems and better its personnel training. The spending measure also includes $700,000 in Nonproliferation, Antiterrorism, Demining and Related Projects (NADR) funding for Armenia. Armenia’s neighbors, Georgia and Azerbaijan, are set to receive $70.5 million and $38 million respectively. The next step in the legislative process is for the House and Senate to reconcile the differences in a conference committee.