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U.S. Pledges USD 1 bln Aid for Georgia

The United States announced a USD 1 billion aid package for Georgia to meet the country’s “pressing humanitarian need” and “to facilitate its economic reconstruction.”

The announcement, which was made by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and also in a written statement by President Bush, came just hours before Vice-President Dick Cheney arrived in Tbilisi early on September 4.

“Last month, Russia invaded a sovereign neighbor and violated Georgia’s territorial integrity,” President Bush said in the statement. “The people of Georgia withstood the assault from the Russian military, and the international community rallied to stand with the people of Georgia and their democratically elected government.”

Since the conflict began the United States had allocated USD 30 million in humanitarian aid.

Secretary Rice said the U.S. administration planned to make available up to USD 570 million of the billion dollar program in the first phase by the end of 2008.

“We are also confident that the United States will keep a commitment that has strong bipartisan support for a second phase of support, an additional USD 430 million,” she said. “A significant portion of our program will provide emergency budget support quickly to the Georgian Government to meet its most pressing reconstruction and economic needs.”

She stressed that it was the reconstruction package for the Georgian economy, and that no military component was envisaged.

“It is not yet time to look at the questions of assistance on the military side,” she said. “Right now, we’re responding to what we consider to be urgent needs to make certain that the Georgian economy survives and indeed thrives.”

She also said that Russia had failed to achieve its goals in Georgia.

“Russia is not achieving its objectives. Georgian democracy is standing. It is thriving. It is receiving extraordinary international support,” Rice said. 

“That, despite the unfortunate Russian decision to recognize South Ossetia and Abkhazia,” she continued, adding that “almost no one has followed” Russia’s recognition of the two breakaway regions.

“It really isn’t a very impressive list to have Abkhazia and South Ossetia recognize each other, and I don’t know what Hamas is doing recognizing anybody, given that I don’t think they’re a state,” Rice added.


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