U.S. - Georgia Partnership - the Road to NATO
By Vladimer Napetvaridze
Tuesday, May 22
Georgian Prime Minister, Giorgi Kvirikashvili will pay a working visit to the United States on May 21-23.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Georgia, Mikheil Janelidze talked about the importance of this visit from the perspective of the US-Georgia relations and noted that in 2017 Georgia-US relations have deepened.
"It is very important that the plenary session of the US-Georgia Charter on Strategic Partnership will be held within the framework of this visit, and it will be will be opened by the Prime Minister of Georgia and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. It is very important that the meeting will be held very soon after the appointment of the Secretary of State.
I would like to emphasize that 2017 was an exceptionally successful year for Georgia-US relations. The meeting will give us an opportunity to review the progress we have reached in our bilateral relations and, we will have an opportunity to discuss following topics: cooperation in defence and security fields, Economic course, Georgia's integration process into NATO and upcoming NATO summit, which will be held this year in Brussels,” Janelidze stated.
One can assume that 2017 was the beginning of a new stage in Georgia-US relations. The new administration of the U.S. President has further deepened relations with Georgia. After the election of Trump, the US has started sending clear messages that Georgia is a strategic partner of the United State.
-In July 2017 the Vice President, Mike Pence visited Tbilisi and made statements about supporting Georgia's territorial integrity, he also paid a visitto the Patriarch of Georgia and this was important aspect of his visit, because it was a message, that the new administration of the United States wants to gain sympathy of Orthodox population of Georgia, the biggest part of society.
-In July, the US Senate received a bill condemning the actions of Russia against Georgia and implied a new sanction.
-In the August 2017, the biggest military drills took place in Georgia - Noble Partner 2017. The American military made a special march, visited the military bases and the cities which were occupied by the Russian troops in 2008.
-In addition to deepening political and economic relations, the US provided practical assistance for strengthening Georgia's defence system. In November 2017 the U.S. State Department has approved the sale of 70 Javelin anti-tank guided missile launch units along with 410 javelin missiles. Beside this, it is noteworthy fact that in 2018 US and Georgia are going to launch of the "most ambitious” US-Georgia project-Georgia’s Defence Readiness Program (GDRP), which will be carried out with the United States over the course of three years to boost the country’s self-defence capabilities.
Such partnership with the US in the social, economic, political and defence fields is very important for Georgia, especially in the NATO integration process. The upcoming Brussels summit will an opportunity for Georgia to make one more step forward for the NATO membership and in this process, the support of the US has a crucial role.