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US Senate Approves Bill to Fund Foreign Operations


The U.S. Senate has approved a $31.7 billion package to fund foreign operations, including economic and political aid to countries around the world.

The bill funds State Department functions and international organizations, bolsters security at U.S. embassies and other diplomatic facilities, and seeks to strengthen public diplomacy by funding international broadcasting and educational and cultural programs.

The measure provides funds for nonproliferation and anti-terrorism programs. It includes assistance to a number of key nations, including U.S. partners in the war on terrorism.

For example, Pakistan would receive nearly $700 million in economic and military aid and Afghanistan would receive $920 million in economic and political assistance under the bill.

The legislation provides over $1 billion to support international peacekeeping operations.

It includes money for fighting AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria, for combating drug trafficking, and for promoting democracy around the world.

"America's national security depends on our ability to integrate and coordinate all of the elements of our national power," said Senator Bill Frist, Senate Majority Leader. "It includes diplomacy, intelligence, economic strength, and military might. The foreign operations bill advances those efforts and demonstrates our generosities and our priorities."

The House of Representatives approved their version of the legislation last month. Differences in the two bills will have to be reconciled before a final measure is sent to President Bush for his signature.

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