U.S. Assistance to Georgia Hinges on Rule of Law Assessment

The Consolidated Appropriations Act for 2021, the annual budgetary legislation that defines spending by various United States federal agencies, says that no less than USD 132,025,000 should be disbursed to Georgia, albeit conditioned on the state of the rule of law and accountable institutions in the country.

According to the document, endorsed by the Congress, and signed by President Donald Trump on December 27, “the Secretary of State shall submit to the Committees on Appropriations a report on the rule of law and accountable institutions” in Georgia not later than 90 days after enactment of the Act.

According to the explanatory statement to the Act, the report by the Secretary of State should detail actions taken by the Government of Georgia since January 1, 2020, to strengthen democratic institutions, including through recent elections, combat corruption, and ensure that rule of law in the private sector and the foreign investment climate meet international standards.

The statement also highlights that “Georgia is a strategic ally of the United States, and the agreement continues to support the Georgian people’s efforts to strengthen democracy, governance and the rule of law.”

The Bill also follows the previous years’ practice and prohibits U.S. aid to the governments that recognize the independence of Abkhazia and Tskhinvali Region/South Ossetia.

“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 Federation occupied Georgian territories of Abkhazia and Tskhinvali Region/South Ossetia,” the document stipulates.

The Bill further notes that none of the funds appropriated should be available to help the Russian occupation of Georgia’s two regions.

The Act also reads that assistance envisaged under the Bill should not be disbursed to “an independent State of the former Soviet Union if such government directs any action in violation of the territorial integrity or the national sovereignty of any other Independent State of the former Soviet Union.”

The Bill also asks the Secretary of the Treasury to instruct U.S. executive directors of every international financial institution ”to use the voice and vote of the United States to oppose any assistance by such institution for any program that violates Georgia’s territorial integrity.”

The document further refers to the European Union’s Eastern Partnership program, of which Georgia is one of the six participating countries, noting that “funds by this Act and made available for assistance for the Eastern Partnership countries shall be made available to advance the implementation of Association Agreements and trade agreements with the European Union, and to reduce their vulnerability to external economic and political pressure from the Russian Federation.”

Detailed Breakdown of the Assistance

Out of USD 132,025,000 assistance, USD 88,025,000 will be made available under Assistance for Europe, Eurasia and Central Asia. Georgia will also receive USD 35,000, 000 under the foreign military financing program; additional USD 5,700, 000 will be allocated for the country for international narcotics control and law enforcement. Georgia will further receive USD 2,200,000 for International Military Education and Training and USD 1,100,000 under Nonproliferation, Anti-terrorism, Demining and Related Programs.

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