PROVIDING FOR CONSIDERATION OF H.R. 3057, FOREIGN OPERATIONS, EXPORT FINANCING, AND RELATED PROGRAMS APPROPRIATIONS ACT, 2006 -- (House of Representatives - June 28, 2005)
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Mr. PALLONE. Mr. Speaker, I just want to indicate my strong support for the bill and particularly for the provisions relative to Armenia and the Nagorno Karabakh. Thanks to the chairman of the subcommittee, the gentleman from Arizona (Mr. Kolbe), the ranking Democrat, the gentlewoman from New York (Mrs. Lowey), and also my friend and co-chair of the Congressional Caucus on Armenian Issues, the gentleman from Michigan (Mr. Knollenberg), for their continued support we now have $67.5 million in the bill for humanitarian assistance to Armenia, which is $12.5 million more than what the President requested; and $5 million in assistance for Nagorno Karabakh, which is $2 million more than last year. I just want to thank all the members of the subcommittee for their continued support.
It is very important this House continue to recognize the plight of the victims of the Nagorno Karabakh conflict, and that is why we must support the committee's recommendations. It is also significant that the President requested and the committee has maintained military assistance parity between Armenia and Azerbaijan with $5.7 million allocated to each country. By allocating equal levels of military and security assistance to both nations, the U.S. Government will preserve its credibility as an impartial and leading mediator in the continued and sensitive peace negotiations for the Nagorno Karabakh conflict.
Given the ongoing Azerbaijani blockades and threats to renew military aggression against Armenia and Karabakh, it is critically important the administration continue to promote balanced, short- and long-term policies that elevate regional cooperation and reduce the risk of conflict in the South Caucasus region. The members of this subcommittee and the leadership on both sides of the aisle have for a long time played a major role in trying to provide balanced, short- and long-term policies that elevate regional cooperation in the Caucasus, and I thank them once again for the assistance levels that are in this legislation.
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