U.S.-Georgian Relationship outlook in 2020
05 February, 2020
U.S.-Georgian Relationship outlook in 2020
American Research Organization “The Heritage Foundation” published a report outlining the priorities of the U.S Georgian Relationship in 2020. According to the organization, these priorities are supporting the Georgian parliamentary elections, to reach a free trade agreement, Georgia's aspirations for NATO, strengthening bilateral defense relations and to prod Georgia to find a new investor for the Anaklia port.

The report says that Georgia is a very important ally for the U.S because Georgia is firmly committed to the transatlantic community and
is a trusted ally in Afghanistan and Iraq.
The report author, the assistant researcher of Russia and Eurasia, Alexis Mrachek writes that fortunately, Georgia's accession to NATO and US-Georgia free-trade agreement is moving forward.

As claimed by the author, America should focus on the next 5 priorities.

1. Support Free and Fair Parliamentary Elections in Georgia

The report provides a brief overview of the situation in Georgia since June 2019. It talks about the protest actions and says that the October 2020 elections must be free and fair. Otherwise, Georgia could be faced with even more political instability. The author writes that protests are a part of Georgia's furthering democracy, but a more stable political system in 2020 would be beneficial. The U.S. should do everything in its power to support Georgia's democratic path- and free and fair elections for Georgia later this year.

2. Push for a Free Trade Agreement with Georgia

The author writes that Georgia has made tremendous progress over the past decade in integrating further with the West and liberalizing its economy. The United States has discussed to create an FTA with Georgia for years and this year should be the time to create one. It would demonstrate tangible support for Georgia, which has contributed to the U.S mission in Afghanistan for years. An FTA would only strengthen the already strong U.S.- Georgia trade relationship.

3. Support Georgia’s NATO Aspirations

As claimed in the report despite Georgia’s lack of membership, Georgia remains one of NATO’s most valuable partners. Because Georgia’s Abkhazia and Tskhinvali (South Ossetia) regions are still under Russian occupation, NATO would need to be creative in granting Georgia membership.
“Georgia is a respected partner of NATO, and the U.S. should encourage its continued path toward NATO membership.”

4. Strengthen the Bilateral Defense Relationship

It’s written in the report that The United States and Georgia have one of the strongest bilateral defense relationships in Eurasia. The U.S. values Georgia as a partner. Since the 2008 war, the U.S. has provided Georgia with more than $750 million in military assistance. The U.S. is on the right path in cooperating with Georgia and its military and should only continue to strengthen the bilateral defense relationship.

5. Prod Georgia to Find a New Investor for the Anaklia Port

In the report, the Anaklia port case is described as follows. The port was scheduled to be completed by 2021, but progress has been halted. The Anaklia Development Consortium, which was granted rights to construct the port in October 2016, failed to meet multiple contract obligations by the end of 2019. Because of this, the Georgian government decided to back out of the project, but only until it finds a new investor. The U.S. should prod Georgia to find a new investor as soon as possible. Georgia needs the port. It would elicit much of the country’s untapped logistic potential and make Georgia’s name more prominent on the map.

Photo From: jam-news.net

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