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