US may grant Georgia major non-NATO ally status

The US Senate Foreign Relations Committee unanimously passed the Ukraine Freedom Support Act of 2014., 19 Sep 2014 - 12:07, Tbilisi,Georgia

If  the Ukraine Freedom Support Act of 2014, passed yestarday at the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee will come into force in the future, Georgia can expect its security and defensive abilities to strengthen after the country gained the status of United States (US) major non-NATO ally.

The US Senate Foreign Relations Committee unanimously passed the document yesterday by a vote of 18 to 0. The Bill saw Georgia, Ukraine and Moldova be declared as major allies of the US despite the countries not having NATO membership.

The other procedures are still needed to be completed before the Bill came into force but Georgian authorities believe the document would further deepen the Georgian-American strategic partnership.

"This is a sign of the US’s special interest towards our country,” Deputy Foreign Minister David Zalkaliani said today.

Another minister also praised the move.

"The document still has to go through several procedures until it is finally approved by the US President but this resolution moves Georgian-US strategic partnership to an entirely new level,” said Georgia’s State Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration Alex Petriashvili.

"First of all, this refers to strengthening [Georgia’s] security and defence as well as media communication, economy and other spheres.”

Meanwhile the US did not offer the same special status to Ukraine.  Moments after Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko met US President Barack Obama, he told American media outlet CNN that Obama refused to grant Ukraine with the major non-NATO ally status.

"He said no because we already have a special status for the level of the cooperation between the United States and Ukraine,” Poroshenko said.

"The level of our security and defence cooperation is much higher than just the status of major non-NATO ally. [...] And we are working under special status for the strategic and defence and security partner of the United States and I think that would be more efficient.”

The act was adopted by the Senate in order to prevent further Russian aggression towards Georgia, Ukraine and other sovereign states in Europe and Eurasia.

The Bill requires the US President to apply sanctions against:

  • Rosoboronexport and other Russian defence firms that contributed to instability in Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia and Syria;
  • Companies worldwide that made significant investments in particular unconventional Russian crude oil energy projects;
  • Russian gas giant Gazprom, if the President determined whether Gazprom was withholding significant natural gas supplies from NATO member countries or withholding its supplies from countries such as Ukraine, Georgia or Moldova.

The Bill also authorised $10 million USD for the next three fiscal years to promote Russian-language broadcasting in Georgia, Ukraine and Moldova to counter Russian propaganda in former Soviet Union countries.