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The East: Foreign Aid Bill Goes To White House

Washington, 14 November 1997 (RFE/RL) - The White House says President Bill Clinton is expected to sign the legislation later today that sets aside funds for U.S. economic assistance to Central and Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union.

The $13 billion U.S. foreign aid bill received from approval in the U.S. Congress yesterday before the legislature adjourned for the year.

The measure appropriates a total of $625 million for the states of the former Soviet Union.

From that total, Ukraine is to receive $225 million. Aid for Georgia was set at $92.5 million, and Armenia is to receive $87.5 million. The legislation also included $12.5 million to assist victims of the conflict over the ethnic Armenian enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh in Azerbaijan, and it included another $5 million for victims of the strife in Abkhazia.

Despite the urging of President Clinton, the Congress did not repeal the ban on direct aid to Azerbaijan.

There was no specific amount of aid set aside for Russia. However, economic development and democracy-building programs would be funded with about $200 million.

The foreign aid bill appropriated $470 million for economic aid for Central and Eastern Europe. There are no specific amounts set aside for individual countries. The funds are used for a wide variety of programs aimed at developing market economies and democratic governments.