The Bush administration on Friday signed agreements providing $2 million to meet health needs of Cambodian children. It is the first U.S. government aid earmarked for that country in 15 years.
The announcement was a further signal of the improving relations between the United States and Cambodia's Vietnamese-backed government and came on the eve of a meeting Saturday between Secretary of State James A. Baker III and Vietnam's Foreign Minister Nguyen Co Thach.The aid funds will be administered by the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) and World Vision Relief and Development.
The announcement by the U.S. Agency for International Development said the UNICEF program involves immunizations, oral rehydration, nutrition and health education.
The $800,000 grant for World Vision will be used to upgrade a pediatric hospital in Phnom Penh, the Cambodian capital.
U.S. aid to Cambodia was suspended after the communist Khmer Rouge triumph there in 1975. Congress recently lifted a legal prohibition on such aid.
The Bush administration has been expanding diplomatic contacts with both Hanoi and Phnom Penh out of concern that the Khmer Rouge rebel group might force its way back into power.
The Khmer Rouge is widely accused of killing hundreds of thousands during its 31/2-year rule in the 1970's.
Also Friday, a $9.8 million humanitarian aid agreement was signed with the president of the Soviet Republic of Armenia.
It was described as the first A.I.D. program in the Soviet Union. But the United States provided substantial assistance to Armenia following the December 1988 earthquake there.