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US House of Representatives Pass Bipartisan Bill to Support Georgia

By Natalia Kochiashvili
Thursday, October 24
The US House of Representatives conferred on the Georgia Support Act, presented by the co-chairs of the House Georgia Caucus, Congressman Adam Kinzinger and Gerry Connolly, which has about 30 co-sponsors from both the Democratic and Republican parties.

The manuscript declares the United States of America’s continuous assistance for the independence and sovereignty of Georgia. It acknowledges Georgia’s commitment to democratic values including free and fair elections and further affirms US opposition to Russian aggression in the region.

According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Act provisions the right of citizens of Georgia to independently determine their future and make sovereign and self-governing choices on foreign and security policies. More essentially, embracing the country’s relationship with other countries and international organizations, without intrusion or coercion by other nations.

Specifically, the report is to cover US security assistance to Georgia and an assessment of threats to the country's independence and its ability to defend itself; cybersecurity cooperation between the United States and Georgia, and a strategy to help Georgia expand its capabilities to combat Russian disinformation and propaganda.

The US President shall correspondingly enforce "entry and property-blocking sanctions against foreign persons responsible for or complicit in serious human rights abuses" in the two Russian occupied regions of Abkhazia and Tskhinvali (South Ossetia).

Rendering to the document- “It shall be the policy of the United States, in consultation with Georgia, to enhance Georgia’s deterrence, resilience, and self-defense, including through appropriate assistance to improve the capabilities of Georgia’s armed forces.”

The bill says that the US does not acknowledge the self-declared separatist Georgian regions of Abkhazia and Tskhinvali, backed by the Russian Federation.

US Congressman Adam Kinzinger says that the passage of a bipartisan bill supporting Georgia in the US House of Representatives sends a “strong signal to Russian President Vladimir Putin to think twice before he decides to get involved in Georgia’s domestic issues.”

He went on, calling Georgia a strategic ally of the US and stating that ensuring Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity “is crucial for European security and US interests.”

Kinzinger said that Russia continues its occupation of Georgian territory and violates fundamental human rights in the occupied Georgian regions of Abkhazia and Tskhinvali.

“Passing the bill is an opportunity for the US to show its support to Georgia, to the country which is one of the major contributors in the Afghanistan peace mission,” said the congressman.

Congressman Gerry Connolly says that in passing the bill, the US reiterates its firm support. Connolly has been to Georgia 3 times and says that he believes Georgia “is a key NATO ally.”

After the bill is also passed by the Senate, it will need to be signed by President Donald Trump in order to be officially enacted.

Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia and Parliament Speaker Archil Talakvadze have thanked the US House of Representatives for passing the Georgia Support Act with strong bipartisan support, with Gakharia saying that “it is the first standalone legislation related to Georgia dedicated to taking our partnership to the next level.”

Talakvadze said that “it is a very important decision,” and “we are very grateful for the great support.”

Georgian Foreign Minister David Zalkaliani says that the bill supporting Georgia passed by the US House of Representatives is “unprecedented” in US-Georgia relations and in the history of independent Georgia.

“I want to express my gratitude to our strategic partner, the US, for passing this unprecedented bill, which once again confirms strong cooperation between Georgia and the US,” stated Zalkaliani.

“We wish to upgrade Georgia-US trade and economic cooperation to the level we currently have in defense and security. It is very important that the bill speaks about the significance of signing a free trade deal between Georgia and the US,” noted Zalkaliani and added that before passing the bill 28 US congressmen appealed to US trade representatives to take action in signing the free trade agreement.

“I am sure that the bill will play a role in further strengthening both political and economic ties between Georgia and the US,” stated Zalkaliani.