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U.S. Rewards Armenia With $235 Million In Aid

(RFE/RL) March 28, 2006 -- The United States is giving Armenia $235 million in aid as a reward for what Washington says is the Armenian government's dedication to democracy and economic reforms.

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who signed the aid agreement on March 27, said the assistance is "a testament to the hard work and dedication of the Armenian people and their elected government."

The aid is intended to upgrade rural roads and improve irrigation, technical assistance, and credit support to poor Armenians.

Armenian Finance Minister Vardan Khachatrian said one-third of Armenians live in poverty, but the country's economy is ranked among the world's most liberal.

The aid is to be provided by the Millennium Challenge Corporation, a Bush administration program designed to reward developing nations for good governance and a commitment to democracy.