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Clinton Waives Foreign Aid Restrictions On Turkey

Washington, May 22 (RFE/RL) -- U.S. President Bill Clinton has waived restrictions on Turkey that could have prevented foreign aid reaching Ankara because of its economic sanctions on Armenia. And ethnic Armenians in America have protested the decision. Turkey's Foreign Minister Emre Gonensay yesterday announced Clinton's waiver. Gonensay is in Washington to meet top government officials.

The Humanitarian Aid Corridor Act prohibits U.S. foreign aid to any country, which obstructs the delivery of humanitarian assistance to another country. In this case, Turkey was alleged to obstruct aid to Armenia. But Clinton last week issued an executive waiver of the provisions of the act for Turkey.

Ethnic Armenian organizations in Washington are strongly protesting Clinton's waiver, and said they would appeal for the U.S. congress to override Clinton's action.

Gonensay also referred to last month's shooting incident on the border with Armenia as misinformation, and denied it had happened. Gonensay proposed a joint Turkey-Armenia team to investigate the reported incident. He said Turkey also supports international efforts to resolve the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.