The United States House of Representatives has approved the Georgia Support Act, establishing a “strategic partnership” between the two countries “at the legislative level”, the Georgian foreign office said on Thursday.
The legislation underscores the US’ support for Georgia's sovereignty, independence, territorial integrity, and European and Euro-Atlantic integration, as well as the right of Georgian citizens to support foreign and security policies of their state without interference or coercion from other countries.
The bipartisan bill condemns human rights violations, illegal detentions and abductions in the Russian-occupied Abkhazia and Tskhinvali (South Ossetia) regions, including the killings of Georgian citizens Archil Tatunashvili, Giga Otkhozoria and Davit Basharuli, and comes out with an initiative to impose sanctions on human rights violators.
The bill also calls on the Russian Federation to fully comply with the European Union-brokered ceasefire agreement of August 12, 2008 that ended the five-day war between the countries, and calls for the establishment of international security mechanisms in Abkhazia and Tskhinvali, and a safe and dignified return of the internally displaced persons and refugees to their homes.
The Act focuses on US-Georgia defence and security cooperation and on strengthening Georgia's defence capabilities. The legislative piece instructs the Secretary of State to present a five-year strategy for future cooperation with Georgia. It also calls on the US administration to take effective steps to strengthen Georgia's capabilities in combating Russian disinformation and propaganda.
In the next procedural phase the bill will be sent to the US Senate, and ultimately to the President, before entering into force if approved.