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Armenia: Foreign Minister Pressing For New Kind of U.S. Aid

Washington, 27 February 1997 (RFE/RL) - Armenian Foreign Minister Alexandre Arzoumanian yesterday asked influential members of U.S. Congress for a new kind of aid for his country.

A spokesman for the Armenian embassy in Washington, Michael Bagratuni, said Arzoumanian met Congressman John Porter, chairman of the Armenian affair caucus, as well as Benjamin Gilman, Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on International Relations and Lee Hamilton, a prominent member of the same committee.

Bagratuni said the foreign minister -- who arrived in the U.S. on Monday -- is trying to convince the United States to redefine the nature of its aid to Armenia, the second biggest receipient of American humanitarian assistance.

He said Arzoumanian is arguing that Armenia has reached the stage where it needs not only humanitarian aid, but also development aid and technical assistance to try to attract foreign investment. On Friday, Arzoumanian is scheduled to meet Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott, to try to rekindle the faltering peace talks on Nagorno-Karabakh. Bagratuni said the Armenians are still trying to schedule a meeting with Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, but have been told she is recuperating from her around-the-world trip.