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FY 1987 Assistance Requests for the Middle East and North Africa I welcome this opportunity to testify in support of the Administration's proposals for FY 1987 economic and security assistance for the Middle East and North Africa.
This year, more than any year since I ahve served as Assistant Secretary, the congress and Administration feel teh budget squeeze. Like you, we in the Near East and South Asia Bureau understand that when we add money to one account, it must come out of another. Cuts are painful. Reductions have costs, whether they come from agriculture, education, health, or the foreign assistance budget. I am not here today to plead that security assistance must be regarded as a higher priority than farmers or the elderly--or to push for large increases during this tough period. Instead, I would like to review the benefits we as a nation to review the benefits we as a nation do receive from security assistance.
The primary goal of our foreign assistance program is the support of friendly states with common interests in promoting economic and political stability. Compared to international trade and other finanical flows, our programs are not large, but they provide critical reinforcement to policies and institutions that we are committed to support in principle as a global power exerting influence to protect legitimate interests and not merely reacting to events. The reciprocal benefit to us and our friends is the basis of our foreign assistance proposals.
The request for the Middle East and North Africa is $5.823 billion, or 36% of the Administration's global request for FY 1987.
Much of our assistance is proposed for Israel. Our commitment to Israel's security and economic requirements is rock solid.
We support the security needs of Egypt, Israel, and Jordan which have taken risks for peace and for stability in that strategic region.
We are protecting the free world's access to oil resources in the strategic gulf region in coopertion with friendly Arab states in teh gulf. Our assistance to Oman contributes to this effort.
Our programs parallel our interest in maintaining military access in morocco and the security of long-time friends in North Africa--Morocco and Tunisia.
The recent instability in South Yemen, exacerbated by Soviet interference, makes our assistance to the Yemen Arab Republic particularly significant at this time.
Our FY 1987 request will fund seven major programs in the Middle East and North Africa:
* $3.295 billion in foreign military sales (FMS) credit, including $3.1 billion for Israel and Egypt;
* $105 million in grant military assistance programs (MAP);
* $10.4 million in international military education and training (IMET);
* $2.015 billion in economic support funds (ESF) for Israel and Egypt;
* $104 million in ESF for six other Middle Eastern countries and the West Bank and Gaza territories;
* $48.3 million in development assistance; and
* $254.9 million in PL 480 food aid.
Middle East Peace
The security of Israel remains the cornerstone of our Middle East policy. Our assistance assures Israel's defensive capabilities--its qualitative edge in the region. In addition, efforts to nurture the spirit of accommodation between Israel and its Arab neighbors will succeed more readily if Arab states feel confident they can provide for their own defense vis-a-vis increased instability causec by the Iran-Iraq war, Libyan aggression, and Soviet expansion. Our friends need help as they work to manage economic and social issues. Defensive capabilities and economic development are keys to stability and improved relations among our friends in teh Middle East.
We are seeking a total of $5.3 billion in military and economic assistance for Israel and Egypt. Meeting their legitiamte defensive requirements is critically important ot maintaining our security role throughout the region and to preserving our role as mediator in the search for peace.
Since the President's Middle East peace initiative of September 1, 1982, foreign assistance, in concert with an active diplomacy, has played an essential role in sustaining the peace process. A resolution of the Arab-Israeli conflict requires both a commitment to the security and exonomic well-being of Israel as well as continued close ties with those Arab states which have traditionally been friendly to the United States. Resolution of these problems, aspects of which are deep seated and comples, will never be easy. Notwithstanding the risks and the costs, this Administration will continue to seek opportunities through all of our friends in the region to move forward …