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Prospects of US-Georgia cooperation

By Messenger Staff
Friday, October 23
The visit of US Assistant Defense Secretary Alexander Vershbow was heavily promoted by the Georgian administration as a clear demonstration of support from Georgia’s major strategic partner. This it was, though the Georgian public does not take promises for granted and has become a little bit more pragmatic.

The Assistant Secretary arrived in Georgia on October 19 and made a very important statement as soon as he got here, saying that there is no embargo on selling arms to Georgia and the US will help Georgia build up its military forces. The next day at a press conference Vershbow clearly stated that the US will assist Georgia on defence issues and this is a long term programme. The Assistant Secretary underlined that the US needs Georgia as a strong, independent and sovereign partner, with the full responsibility and capacity to protect itself. Vershbow promised that the US will help Georgia create a defence doctrine which would involve the training and education of military personnel. This continuing process will enhance Georgia’s defence capability and modernise its armed forces. He also highlighted that Georgia’s NATO integration is a priority and the US will cooperate with its ally in this direction.

The visit provided answers to certain questions as well. For instance it became clear that the US is not planning to deploy anti-missile devices on Georgian territory. He also expressed US gratitude for Georgia’s participation in Afghan operations. As is known some forces in Georgia with a distinct pro-Russian orientation are campaigning against Georgia’s participation in NATO operations. It also became known that the USA has rejected any possibility of transferring Guantanamo Bay prisoners to Georgia, although Georgia was ready to host them. Those who were concerned about Guantanamo prisoners coming to Georgia could sigh with relief.

There are many prospects of profitable US-Georgia cooperation at a strategic level. Of course the huge financial support the US is rendering to Georgia in different fields such as the economy, social welfare, humanitarian aid, building civil society and strengthening NGOs should also be taken into account when assessing the level of US support for Georgia.

The US genuinely wants to put Georgia strongly on its feet. Now it is Georgia’s turn to prove how efficiently it can use this assistance.