The United States is a strong supporter of Georgia’s democratic and economic development, as well as of its efforts to enhance security and resist external pressure. In support of these objectives, Vice President Joe Biden announced in his meeting with Georgian President Giorgi Margvelashvili on June 7 an additional $5 million in assistance to Georgia, pending consultations with the U.S. Congress. This assistance will help individuals affected by Russia’s “borderization” of the Administrative Boundary Lines (ABLs) of Georgia’s occupied territories, increase access to independent information in the region, promote national unity, and help the Government of Georgia conduct key reforms to strengthen justice sector institutions. This follows the $1.5 million ABL assistance that was announced by Secretary of State Kerry at the U.S.-Georgia Strategic Partnership meeting on February 26, 2014. When added to funds previously budgeted, the United States is now providing approximately $65 million in assistance to Georgia this year.
The United States’ $5 million assistance package will:
- Help affected individuals along the ABLs through approximately 40 small infrastructure projects that will rehabilitate potable water systems, irrigation channels, drainage and village roads, benefiting up to 4,000 households;
- Support new means of income generation for at least 2,000 vulnerable households along the ABLs through vocational training, access to finance, and microenterprise assistance;
- Increase access to objective information by populations in the occupied territories of Abkhazia and South Ossetia;
- Help the Ministry of Justice establish an inspectorate responsible for monitoring compliance with and enforcing Georgia’s new anti-discrimination law, a requirement of Georgia’s Visa Liberalization Action Plan with the European Union; and
- Support efforts to promote national unity such as public awareness, education, and youth activities related to tolerance and diversity.
These targeted activities complement long-term U.S. assistance programs designed to support systemic reforms and build institutional capacity across a range of sectors:
- The United States provides assistance that strengthens the rule of law by increasing judicial sector capacity and improving legal education and representation;
- U.S. assistance promotes democracy and good governance by helping public agencies carry out transparent and inclusive decision-making processes, supporting civil society, increasing citizens’ access to information, and supporting democratic political competition;
- U.S. assistance boosts broad-based economic growth by helping enterprises expand their businesses, diversifying markets, promoting women’s access to credit, and strengthening Georgia’s intellectual property rights enforcement and compliance with World Trade Organization requirements; and
- The United States assists the Georgian Government’s efforts to lay the groundwork for a sustainable resolution of the conflicts that respects Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.
- Source: whitehouse.gov