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August 2, 1999

H.R. 1152 - Silk Road Strategy Act of 1999
(Bereuter (R) NE and 5 cosponsors)

The Administration opposes H.R. 1152 because the bill, as reported by the House International Relations Committee, would harm our ability to promote foreign policy, economic, and security interests in the Caucasus and Central Asia. The bill contains new conditions and certification requirements that would restrict our ability to use assistance funds in this region and includes no new assistance authorities that have not already been provided for in the Freedom Support Act (FSA). Importantly, the bill does not include a repeal or waiver of section 907 of the FSA, which prohibits assistance to Azerbaijan.

The Administration has significant interests in this region, including political and economic reform, sovereignty and independence from outside powers, nonproliferation, and conflict resolution. Our assistance programs are an important lever to promote these important broader interests. This bill, even with certain waiver authorities, seriously constrains our ability to respond to evolving conditions in these countries and provide critical and timely support.