Home > 106th Congressional Bills > H.R. 1152 (ih) To amend the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 to target assistance to support the economic and political independence of the countries of the South Caucasus and Central Asia. [Introduced in House] ...

H.R. 1152 (ih) To amend the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 to target assistance to support the economic and political independence of the countries of the South Caucasus and Central Asia. [Introduced in House] ...


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106th CONGRESS

  1st Session

                               H. R. 1152

_______________________________________________________________________

                                 AN ACT

  To amend the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 to target assistance to 
support the economic and political independence of the countries of the 
                    South Caucasus and Central Asia.
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
106th CONGRESS
  1st Session
                                H. R. 1152

_______________________________________________________________________

                                 AN ACT


 
  To amend the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 to target assistance to 
support the economic and political independence of the countries of the 
                    South Caucasus and Central Asia.

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the 
United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

    This Act may be cited as the ``Silk Road Strategy Act of 1999''.

SEC. 2. FINDINGS.

    Congress makes the following findings:
            (1) The ancient Silk Road, once the economic lifeline of 
        Central Asia and the South Caucasus, traversed much of the 
        territory now within the countries of Armenia, Azerbaijan, 
        Georgia, Kazakstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and 
        Uzbekistan.
            (2) Economic interdependence spurred mutual cooperation 
        among the peoples along the Silk Road and restoration of the 
        historic relationships and economic ties between those peoples 
        is an important element of ensuring their sovereignty as well 
        as the success of democratic and market reforms.
            (3) The development of strong political, economic, and 
        security ties among countries of the South Caucasus and Central 
        Asia and the West will foster stability in this region, which 
        is vulnerable to political and economic pressures from the 
        south, north, and east.
            (4) The development of open market economies and open 
        democratic systems in the countries of the South Caucasus and 
        Central Asia will provide positive incentives for international 
        private investment, increased trade, and other forms of 
        commercial interactions with the rest of the world.
            (5) Many of the countries of the South Caucasus have 
        secular Muslim governments that are seeking closer alliance 
        with the United States and that have active and cordial 
        diplomatic relations with Israel.
            (6) The region of the South Caucasus and Central Asia could 
        produce oil and gas in sufficient quantities to reduce the 
        dependence of the United States on energy from the volatile 
        Persian Gulf region.
            (7) United States foreign policy and international 
        assistance should be narrowly targeted to support the economic 
        and political independence as well as democracy building, free 
        market policies, human rights, and regional economic 
        integration of the countries of the South Caucasus and Central 
        Asia.

SEC. 3. POLICY OF THE UNITED STATES.

    It shall be the policy of the United States in the countries of the 
South Caucasus and Central Asia--
            (1) to promote and strengthen independence, sovereignty, 
        democratic government, and respect for human rights;
            (2) to promote tolerance, pluralism, and understanding and 
        counter racism and anti-Semitism;
            (3) to assist actively in the resolution of regional 
        conflicts and to facilitate the removal of impediments to 
        cross-border commerce;
            (4) to promote friendly relations and economic cooperation;
            (5) to help promote market-oriented principles and 
        practices;
            (6) to assist in the development of the infrastructure 
        necessary for communications, transportation, education, 
        health, and energy and trade on an East-West axis in order to 
        build strong international relations and commerce between those 
        countries and the stable, democratic, and market-oriented 
        countries of the Euro-Atlantic Community; and
            (7) to support United States business interests and 
        investments in the region.

SEC. 4. UNITED STATES EFFORTS TO RESOLVE CONFLICTS IN THE SOUTH 
              CAUCASUS AND CENTRAL ASIA.

    It is the sense of the Congress that the President should use all 
diplomatic means practicable, including the engagement of senior United 
States Government officials, to press for an equitable, fair, and 
permanent resolution to the conflicts in the South Caucasus and Central 
Asia.

SEC. 5. AMENDMENT TO THE FOREIGN ASSISTANCE ACT OF 1961.

    Part I of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 (22 U.S.C. 2151 et 
seq.) is amended by adding at the end the following new chapter:

 ``CHAPTER 12--SUPPORT FOR THE ECONOMIC AND POLITICAL INDEPENDENCE OF 
          THE COUNTRIES OF THE SOUTH CAUCASUS AND CENTRAL ASIA

``SEC. 499. UNITED STATES ASSISTANCE TO PROMOTE RECONCILIATION AND 
              RECOVERY FROM REGIONAL CONFLICTS.

    ``(a) Purpose of Assistance.--The purposes of assistance under this 
section include--
            ``(1) the creation of the basis for reconciliation between 
        belligerents in the countries of the South Caucasus and Central 
        Asia;
            ``(2) the promotion of economic development in areas of the 
        countries of the South Caucasus and Central Asia impacted by 
        civil conflict and war; and
            ``(3) the encouragement of broad regional cooperation among 
        countries of the South Caucasus and Central Asia that have been 
        destabilized by internal conflicts.
    ``(b) Authorization for Assistance.--
            ``(1) In general.--To carry out the purposes of subsection 
        (a), the President is authorized to provide humanitarian 
        assistance and economic reconstruction assistance for the 
        countries of the South Caucasus and Central Asia to support the 
        activities described in subsection (c).
            ``(2) Definition of humanitarian assistance.--In this 
        subsection, the term `humanitarian assistance' means assistance 
        to meet humanitarian needs, including needs for food, medicine, 
        medical supplies and equipment, education, and clothing.
    ``(c) Activities Supported.--Activities that may be supported by 
assistance under subsection (b) include--
            ``(1) providing for the humanitarian needs of victims of 
        the conflicts;
            ``(2) facilitating the return of refugees and internally 
        displaced persons to their homes; and
            ``(3) assisting in the reconstruction of residential and 
        economic infrastructure destroyed by war.
    ``(d) Policy.--It is the sense of the Congress that the United 
States should, where appropriate, support the establishment of neutral, 
multinational peacekeeping forces to implement peace agreements reached 
between belligerents in the countries of the South Caucasus and Central 
Asia.

``SEC. 499A. ECONOMIC ASSISTANCE.

    ``(a) Purpose of Assistance.--The purpose of assistance under this 
section is to foster economic growth and development, including the 
conditions necessary for regional economic cooperation, among the 
countries of the South Caucasus and Central Asia.
    ``(b) Authorization for Assistance.--To carry out the purpose of 
subsection (a), the President is authorized to provide assistance for 
the countries of the South Caucasus and Central Asia to support the 
activities described in subsection (c).
    ``(c) Activities Supported.--In addition to the activities 
described in section 498, activities supported by assistance under 
subsection (b) should support the development of the structures and 
means necessary for the growth of private sector economies based upon 
market principles.
    ``(d) Policy.--It is the sense of the Congress that the United 
States should--
            ``(1) assist the countries of the South Caucasus and 
        Central Asia to develop policies, laws, and regulations that 
        would facilitate the ability of those countries to develop free 
        market economies and to join the World Trade Organization to 
        enjoy all the benefits of membership; and
            ``(2) consider the establishment of zero-to-zero tariffs 
        between the United States and the countries of the South 
        Caucasus and Central Asia.

``SEC. 499B. DEVELOPMENT OF INFRASTRUCTURE.

    ``(a) Purpose of Programs.--The purposes of programs under this 
section include--
            ``(1) to develop the physical infrastructure necessary for 
        regional cooperation among the countries of the South Caucasus 
        and Central Asia; and
            ``(2) to encourage closer economic relations and to 
        facilitate the removal of impediments to cross-border commerce 
        among those countries and the United States and other developed 
        nations.
    ``(b) Authorization for Programs.--To carry out the purposes of 
subsection (a), the following types of programs for the countries of 
the South Caucasus and Central Asia may be used to support the 
activities described in subsection (c):
            ``(1) Activities by the Export-Import Bank of the United 
        States to complete the review process for eligibility for 
        financing under the Export-Import Bank Act of 1945.
            ``(2) The provision of insurance, reinsurance, financing, 
        or other assistance by the Overseas Private Investment 
        Corporation.
            ``(3) Assistance under section 661 of this Act (relating to 
        the Trade and Development Agency).
    ``(c) Activities Supported.--Activities that may be supported by 
programs under subsection (b) include promoting actively the 
participation of United States companies and investors in the planning, 
financing, and construction of infrastructure for communications, 
transportation, including air transportation, and energy and trade, 
including highways, railroads, port facilities, shipping, banking, 
insurance, telecommunications networks, and gas and oil pipelines.
    ``(d) Policy.--It is the sense of the Congress that the United 
States representatives at the International Bank for Reconstruction and 
Development, the International Finance Corporation, and the European 
Bank for Reconstruction and Development should encourage lending to the 
countries of the South Caucasus and Central Asia to assist the 
development of the physical infrastructure necessary for regional 
economic cooperation.

``SEC. 499C. BORDER CONTROL ASSISTANCE.

    ``(a) Purpose of Assistance.--The purpose of assistance under this 
section includes aiding the countries of the South Caucasus and Central 
Asia to secure their borders and implement effective controls necessary 
to prevent the trafficking of illegal narcotics and the proliferation 
of technology and materials related to weapons of mass destruction (as 
defined in section 2332a(c)(2) of title 18, United States Code), and to 
contain and inhibit transnational organized criminal activities.
    ``(b) Authorization for Assistance.--To carry out the purpose of 
subsection (a), the President is authorized to provide assistance to 
the countries of the South Caucasus and Central Asia to support the 
activities described in subsection (c).
    ``(c) Activities Supported.--Activities that may be supported by 
assistance under subsection (b) include assisting those countries of 
the South Caucasus and Central Asia in developing capabilities to 
maintain national border guards, coast guard, and customs controls.
    ``(d) Policy.--It is the sense of the Congress that the United 
States should encourage and assist the development of regional military 
cooperation among the countries of the South Caucasus and Central Asia 
through programs such as the Central Asian Battalion and the 
Partnership for Peace of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

``SEC. 499D. STRENGTHENING DEMOCRACY, TOLERANCE, AND THE DEVELOPMENT OF 
              CIVIL SOCIETY.

    ``(a) Purpose of Assistance.--The purpose of assistance under this 
section is to promote institutions of democratic government and to 
create the conditions for the growth of pluralistic societies, 
including religious tolerance and respect for internationally 
recognized human rights, in the countries of the South Caucasus and 
Central Asia.
    ``(b) Authorization for Assistance.--To carry out the purpose of 
subsection (a), the President is authorized to provide the following 
types of assistance to the countries of the South Caucasus and Central 
Asia:
            ``(1) Assistance for democracy building, including programs 
        to strengthen parliamentary institutions and practices.
            ``(2) Assistance for the development of nongovernmental 
        organizations.
            ``(3) Assistance for development of independent media.
            ``(4) Assistance for the development of the rule of law, a 
        strong independent judiciary, and transparency in political 
        practice and commercial transactions.
            ``(5) International exchanges and advanced professional 
        training programs in skill areas central to the development of 
        civil society.
            ``(6) Assistance to promote increased adherence to civil 
        and political rights under section 116(e) of this Act.
    ``(c) Activities Supported.--Activities that may be supported by 
assistance under subsection (b) include activities that are designed to 
advance progress toward the development of democracy.
    ``(d) Policy.--It is the sense of the Congress that the Voice of 
America and RFE/RL, Incorporated, should maintain high quality 
broadcasting for the maximum duration possible in the native languages 
of the countries of the South Caucasus and Central Asia.

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