Armenia Table of Contents
Loading butter from United States Department of Agriculture
onto Armenian trucks at Zvartnots Airport, near Erevan, after
collapse of Soviet Union, February 1992
Courtesy A. James Firth, United States Department of Agriculture
Independent Armenia enjoys good relations with the United States and the European Union (EU). The United States recognized the Republic of Armenia in December 1991, and a United States embassy opened in Erevan in February 1992. General United States and Armenian strategic interests in common include the promotion of internal democracy, just termination of the Karabakh conflict, and stability in the former Soviet Union that would prevent the resurgence of an authoritarian, imperialist Russia. United States policy toward Armenia must weigh the special relationships of the United States with Russia and NATO ally Turkey. In the first post-Soviet years, the United States has given more aid per capita to Armenia than to any other former Soviet republic. At the same time, the United States has withheld trade privileges from Azerbaijan because of that country's economic blockade of Armenia.
Armenians have been able to influence American policy to a limited degree through the diaspora in the United States, but their interests and those of the United States are not always congruent. Given its special relationship with Turkey, the United States has been reluctant to recognize the events of 1915 as genocide. On several occasions, the United States criticized Armenian aggression against Azerbaijan outside of Karabakh. Yet both the United States and Russia, as well as the CSCE countries in general, agree that a solution to the Karabakh conflict must be based on recognition of existing borders and the rights of minorities.
In the first winters of the 1990s, many Armenians were on the brink of starvation, and the basic needs of the population were sustained only through foreign aid. In December 1991, the United States Department of Agriculture and the Diocese of the Armenian Church in America arranged for the diocese to distribute food shipments valued at US$15 million in Armenia. Through Operation Provide Hope, the United States government sent food and medical supplies worth over US$6 million to Armenia in the first eight months of 1992. When the United States Agency for International Development (AID) authorized US$1 million to the American Bar Association for a program to provide legal experts to the member states of the CIS, Armenia became the first country where legislators worked with these legal specialists. The Peace Corps arrived in Erevan in August 1992, followed in the fall by AID and the United States Information Agency (USIA).
Data as of March 1994