Feb 4 (Reuters) - The Bush administration’s spending plan for fiscal year 2009, released on Monday, includes a 16.5 percent annual increase for foreign affairs operations, including the U.S. State Department.
The $38.3 billion spending total for the State Department and other international programs is $5.4 billion more than the $32.9 billion for the current 2008 fiscal year. It would also mark a 20.8 percent, two-year increase from $31.7 billion spent on foreign operations in fiscal 2007.
Following are several foreign affairs highlights of President George W. Bush’s $3.1 trillion budget plan for fiscal 2009, which begins next Oct. 1:
* $400 million to help Iraq achieve economic, democratic and political stabilization; and $1.1 billion to help Afghanistan promote economic growth, strengthen its governing institutions, improve access to health care and education and increase democratic governance;
* $830 million to Pakistan to aid security, combat terrorism, promote democracy and further economic development.
* $699 million for U.S. government news and information television, radio and Internet broadcasts overseas with a focus on the Middle East, North Korea, Myanmar, Iran and Cuba;
* $6 billion for the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, a program that is expected to spend $30 billion over the next five years to help millions of people affected by the AIDS crisis;
* $550 million for the Merida Initiative to fight drug-trafficking and organized crime in Mexico and Central America;
* $400 million for a new international clean technology fund as part of Bush’s Climate Change Initiative;
* $1.5 billion for U.N. peacekeeping operations including initiatives in Sudan, Congo, Liberia, Lebanon and Haiti. (Reporting by David Morgan; Editing by Caren Bohan and Vicki Allen)