U.S. Lawmakers Seek More Aid for Democracy in Armenia

U.S. Lawmakers Seek More Aid for Democracy in Armenia

YEREVAN (RFE/RL) — The U.S. Congress is expected to allocate later this year up to $40 million in financial assistance designed to support democratic reforms in to Armenia.

The House of Representatives earmarked the sum in a bill on U.S. foreign aid for the next financial year passed in June. The funding was proposed by its pro-Armenian members, notably Jackie Speier.

Speier cited last year’s democratic “Velvet Revolution” in Armenia when she spoke on the House floor. “It is very important at this point in time that we do everything in our power to support this new democracy,” she said.

“Armenia has a rare and potentially fleeting window of opportunity to consolidate and build upon its democratic gains,” added the Democrat from California.

A separate foreign aid bill approved by the U.S. Senate’s Committee on Appropriations last week similarly calls for an unspecified amount of funding that would “further democratic and economic reforms” in Armenia. It would come in addition to about $20 million in economic and security aid to the South Caucasus nation recommended by the panel.

The bill has to be passed by the full Senate before the two congressional chambers can reach an agreement on the amount of democracy aid to Armenia.