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U.S. Budget Bans Aid to Governments Recognizing Abkhazia, S.Ossetia

The Consolidated Appropriations Act for 2018, the annual budgetary legislation that defines spending by various United States federal agencies, designates USD 105.3 million for assisting Georgia.

The Appropriations Act, which was endorsed by the United States Congress and signed by President Donald Trump on March 23, follows the previous year’s practice and prohibits American aid to the governments that have recognized independence of Abkhazia and Tskhinvali Region/South Ossetia.

According to the document, “none of the funds appropriated by this Act may be made available for assistance for the central government of a country that the Secretary of State determines and reports to the Committees on Appropriations has recognized the independence of, or has established diplomatic relations with, the Russian occupied Georgian territories of Abkhazia and Tskhinvali Region/South Ossetia.”

The document further stipulates that “none of the funds appropriated by this Act may be made available to support the Russian occupation of the Georgian territories of Abkhazia and Tskhinvali Region/South Ossetia.”

In addition, the document states that the U.S. Secretary of the Treasury shall instruct the United States executive directors of international financial institutions to vote against any assistance for any of their programs (including any loan, credit, or guarantee) that violates the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Georgia.

The Secretary, however, is authorized to waive these restrictions, if he/she “determines and reports to the Committees on Appropriations that to do so is in the national interest of the United States, and includes a justification for such interest.”

The Act includes many other references to Russia, mostly to the need of countering Moscow’s assertive foreign policy.

Among other measures, the document stipulates that “not less than USD 250 million shall be made available to carry out the purposes of the Countering Russian Influence Fund, and programs to enhance the capacity of law enforcement and security forces in countries in Europe and Eurasia and strengthen security cooperation between such countries and the United States and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, as appropriate.”

The document also says that the funds used to assist the Eastern Partnership countries shall support implementation of these countries’ Association Agreements and trade agreements with the European Union, and “to reduce their vulnerability to external economic and political pressure from the Russian Federation.”

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