Monday, 24 September

Open Letter to H. E. John A. Heffern, U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Armenia

Your Excellency,

We are saddened to hear that President Obama has called for a drastic 19 percent reduction in economic assistance to Armenia in his latest budget request from Congress. The president has proposed $27,219,000 in aid for Armenia in his Fiscal Year 2013 (FY13) budget, which is nearly $12,781,000, or 32 percent less than the $40,000,000 approved by Congress for the previous fiscal year. 

Taking into consideration the fact that Armenia is in an economic blockade by Azerbaijan, and its ally Turkey, which has kept the border with Armenia closed since 1993 as a sign of approval and support in favor of Azerbaijan in the ongoing conflict between the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic and Azerbaijan, the United States, as a champion of human rights and democratic development, should continue to assist Armenia’s progress by keeping the foreign aid level constant with previous years. This is especially true when the Nagorno Karabakh people have been striving for self-determination which was first presented by American president Woodrow Wilson, and the duel blockade has made the peaceful life much more difficult for people in Armenia and in Nagorno-Karabakh, artificially limiting the economic growth.

As a diplomat of a country that is serving as one of the Co-Chairmen of the OSCE Minsk Group, which aims to bring about a lasting peace and stability in the region, and a country that supported Armenian President’s move towards the Turkish-Armenian rapprochement, you are in a good position to understand the tense and fragile situation of the region.

Nonetheless, taking the geopolitical difficultities into account, Armenia has still managed to provide peacekeepers in U.S.  missions overseas, specifically in Iraq, and continues to particpate in Afganistan as part of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF). Armenian peacekeepers put their lives on the line to further the democratic and humanitarian mission, along with their Euro-Atlantic partners, which is another reason President Obama’s budget proposal to cut foreign aid to Armenia remains perplexing for us.

Therefore, we are kindly asking you to provide an explanation as to why President Obama has decided to lower foreign aid to the Republic of Armenia. 

Thank you in advance and kind regards, 

Public Relations office 
Political Developments Research Center

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Comments (4)
1. Harb16:38 - 16 February, 2012
I would like to see Armenia get aid from the US and/or any other country. Clearly, it is in a terrible position, a sham democracy, and the rule of law a distant dream. But,"isn't it just awful" isn't enough. The US should be expending its resources if and only if it advances US strategic interest at a substantive level. It isn't the case that the US owes an explanation for reducing aid to Armenia, rather those who want that aid need to advance the case showing that US interests are substantively and better served than other alternatives for this finite resource. It is a Quid Pro Quo world and Armenia needs to demonstrate what the US gets in return for its investment. There are many instances of US foreign aid expenditures that need to be revisited not just Armenia. In all cases, there should be a demonstrable link between that aid and the advancement of US interests. The burden falls to those who seek the aid to demonstrate how that aid would serve the US and its citizens-- the people who provide the money. I acknowledge the 40 Armenian soldiers in Afghanistan. If that is the sum of the benefit to the US-then they are some of the most expensive soldiers in the world. I would encourage the writer of the above open letter to restructure his approach from demanding an explanation to structuring an argument that shows how the US benefits and how lessening aid hurts US strategic interests.
2. levik17:30 - 16 February, 2012
Armenia has become the land of "Open Letters" to this or that head of state, various diplomats, world public opinion, and sundry Armenian officials from the local district leader on up to ministers, prime minister and president... I guess these scribes believe they have no where else to turn or are just letting off hot air. Maybe Hetq should compile an album of these letters for future publication. How bout a separate section in Hetq? - Open Letters
3. vartan18:45 - 16 February, 2012
President Wilson did a lot more than offer self-determination. He made a final arbitral award to Armenia of what is now the eastern third of Turkey. Armenians should be preoccupied with building a strong state to pursue their just legal claims. Begging for $13 million isn't worth it and just makes Armenia look pathetic. Armenia can become a strong state or it can be a mendicant perpetually selling itself to foreign interests. Whatever, the geopolitical difficulties, the choice mainly resides with the Armenians themselves.
4. haykUS22:22 - 16 February, 2012
I do not understand what is the big deal. Why US should give more money to super-corrupt country with mafia president and billionaire ministers, oligarchs and government officials. Let's confiscate all their possessions and give back to our country. Why should Kocharyan own all molybdenum resources, why should Dodi Gago own all great liquor factories or cement factories, why should ministers privatize 200 million buildings in Dilijan for only 10,000. Let them who stole our country’s resources from us pay us back! This is all ours we should get it back and not beg US for help. Why help, let us distribute wealth more evenly in our country.
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