The Armenian government knows what it should do in order to again qualify for U.S. economic assistance under a program designed to reward good governance and reforms around the world, a senior U.S. official said on Wednesday.
Daniel Yohannes, the chief executive of a U.S. government corporation managing the Millennium Challenge Account (MCA) program, said Armenia is no longer eligible for more MCA aid because it does meet Washington’s minimum requirements on democracy good governance.
“I believe that information is available to the government of Armenia and to the people. I think they all understand areas that they need to work,” Yohannes told journalists.
“It’s up to them to fix some of the issues of concern,” he said.
The official, who runs the U.S. Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), spoke during a visit to Armenia’s southern Armavir region. Local farmers are among beneficiaries of a $180 million rural infrastructure project which was launched by the MCC in 2006 and will be completed this September.
The bulk of that assistance has been spent on the reconstruction of the country’s irrigation networks. Prime Minister Tigran Sarkisian stressed its importance for Armenia’s struggling agricultural sector at a meeting with Yohannes on Tuesday.
The MCC also allocated in 2006 $67 million for rebuilding and repairing 350 kilometers of Armenian rural roads. It scrapped the project following Armenia’s disputed 2008 presidential election and the ensuing government crackdown on the opposition.
Marie Yovanovitch, the U.S. ambassador in Yerevan, said last month that parliamentary and presidential elections due in 2012 and 2013 respectively will be an opportunity for the Armenian government to improve its governance indicators and thus again become eligible for MCA funding.