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U.S. Gives $230 Million In Aid To Armenia, With Warning

Washington, 19 December 2005 (RFE/RL) — A U.S. development agency has agreed to provide Armenia with more than $230 million for programs aimed at reducing rural poverty.

The Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), which was set up by the U.S. government in 2004, said on 19 December that it hopes the five-year deal will help hundreds of thousands of farmers by improving roads and irrigation.

However, the U.S. agency expressed concern about political rights and government transparency in Armenia in the wake of reports of irregularities in a referendum on constitutional reform held in late November.

In a letter sent on 16 December to Armenian President Robert Kocharian, the MCC’s chief executive, John Danilovich, warned that the aid agreement could be suspended or terminated unless Armenian officials take steps to address the agency’s concerns.

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