(RFE/RL) – The United States will continue to finance humanitarian projects in Nagorno-Karabakh as part of annual economic assistance allocated by the U.S. Congress, a senior State Department official said on Wednesday.
Armenian-American lobby groups have been instrumental in at least $44.5 million in direct aid to Karabakh which has been approved by Congress since 1998 over strong objections from Azerbaijan. It has been mostly channeled into humanitarian demining operations and the reconstruction of the region’s water distribution network.
Speaking in Yerevan, Alina Romanowski, the State Department coordinator for U.S. assistance to the former Soviet Union, said the U.S. aid to Karabakh will remain focused on these areas. “We will be continuing our support for demining activities in that region,” she said, adding that the safety of Karabakh’s population is particularly important to the U.S.
President Serzh Sarkisian, a former wartime leader of Karabakh, thanked Congress for the aid allocations when he visited Washington in September. “That assistance has had a not only humanitarian but, first and foremost, moral significance for the people of Artsakh (Karabakh),” Sarkisian said at a reception held in his honor on Capitol Hill.
Photo Caption 1: Alina Romanowski, the State Department coordinator for U.S. assistance to the former Soviet Union, at a news conference in Yerevan on November 18, 2015 (RFE/RL).