US House of Representatives passes bipartisan Georgia Support Act

  • Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia said the US is Georgia’s “closest strategic ally”, whereas the Georgia Support Act is “landmark piece of legislation”. Photo: Nino Alavidze/Agenda.ge

Agenda.ge, 23 Oct 2019 - 08:27, Tbilisi,Georgia

The United States House of Representatives has passed the bipartisan Georgia Support Act, introduced by Congressmen Adam Kinzinger and Gerry Connolly and co-sponsored by 31 other US legislators. 

With the Georgia Support Act the US supports:

  • continued development of democratic values in Georgia, including free and fair elections, public sector transparency and accountability, the rule of law, and anti-corruption efforts;
  • the country’s sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity within its internationally recognised borders;
  • the right of the Georgian people to freely determine their future and make independent and sovereign choices on foreign and security policy, 
  • Georgia’s Euro-Atlantic and European integration

Photo: Nino Alavidze/Agenda.ge

The bill further says that the US does not recognises the illegal invasions and occupations of Georgian regions of Abkhazia and Tskhinvali (South Ossetia” by the Russian Federation.

It also condemns ongoing detentions, kidnappings and other human rights violations committed in the regions "forcibly occupied" by the Russian Federation, including the recent killings of Georgian citizens Archil Tatunashvili, Giga Otkhozoria and Davit Basharuli.

The bipartisan bill supports peaceful conflict resolution in Georgia and establishment of international security mechanisms in Abkhazia and Tskhinvali (South Ossetia) as well. 

It then calls for the safe and dignified return of internally displaced persons and refugees, “all of which are important for lasting peace and security on the ground”.Photo: Nino Alavidze/Agenda.ge

Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia thanked the House of Representatives for passing the bill. Calling the US Georgia’s “closest strategic ally” he said the Georgia Support Act is a "landmark piece of legislation”.

Our partnership is based on our shared common values of freedom and democracy and our steadfast mutual support", PM Gakharia said

 This represents the first standalone legislation related to Georgia dedicated to taking our partnership to the next level” he added.

PM Gakharia also noted that “this legislation will also bolster the already strong commercial ties between Georgia and the US” as it calls on the US Trade Representative to move forward with a bilateral trade agreement between the two countries. 

A trade deal would have significant economic benefits for Georgia and the US – opening markets and making commerce between the two easier and more robust.

It represents one more step forward for Georgia, where increased economic and security ties with the US will help create more jobs, build a strong middle class, and maintain sustainable security in the country”, Gakharia stated.

Recognising the continued threat posed by Russian occupation, the bill also directs the U.S. government to study and report on the threats to Georgia’s sovereignty and ability to defend itself.

The report will help outline what assistance the U.S. can offer in the future to increase Georgia’s security, resilience and deterrence capabilities.

Giorgi Gakharia said the Georgian people are “grateful to the US for its unwavering support.” He now hopes that the bill will also receive support in the Senate.

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