U.S. - Georgia Charter on Strategic Partnership
The U.S.-Georgia Charter on Strategic Partnership was signed by U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Georgia Grigol Vashadze in Washington, DC, on January 9, 2009. The first meeting of the Strategic Partnership Commission, held in Washington, DC, on June 22, 2009, launched four bilateral working groups on priority areas identified in the Charter: democracy, defense and security, economic, trade and energy issues, and people-to-people and cultural exchanges. Senior-level American and Georgian policy-makers led subsequent meetings of each of these working groups during 2009-2010 to review commitments, update activities, and establish future objectives.
Progress through our Strategic Partnership:
Enhancing Security: The Security Working Group met in Tbilisi on October 19, 2009. Based on core principles of sovereignty, independence, territorial integrity and inviolability of borders, the United States and Georgia are committed to deepening Georgia’s integration into Euro-Atlantic institutions and enhancing security cooperation. The United States continues to support Georgia’s efforts in defense reform and improved defense capabilities, including NATO interoperability and Georgia’s contributions to ISAF operations in Afghanistan. The U.S. also supports Georgia’s efforts related to its “Annual National Program” as agreed by the NATO-Georgia Commission.
The United States supports Georgia’s Euro-Atlantic aspirations for membership in NATO as reflected in the Alliance’s decisions in Bucharest and Strasburg-Kehl. The U.S. recognizes Georgia’s important contributions to NATO efforts in Afghanistan as demonstrating its potential as a net provider of security.
Strengthening Democratic Practices and Values: The Democracy Working Group met in Tbilisi on November 17, 2009. Recognizing Georgia’s achievements to date, the Working Group focuses on further strengthening democratic institutions, political pluralism and electoral processes, media freedom, rule of law and judicial independence, transparent, accountable and participatory governance, and increased civic participation. Recent and planned U.S.-funded programs have supported reform in all of these areas.
Building Economic Sustainability: The Economic Working Group met in Tbilisi on February 26, 2010. The United States and Georgia have worked together to support economic/market reform, improve the business climate and increase investment opportunities.
The implementation of new unified tax and customs codes, the promotion of trade and investment opportunities and economic freedom, a significant reduction in corruption, and the creation of new energy and transport infrastructure/diversification projects illustrate Georgia’s economic and development progress and are in line with Charter commitments.
The United States supports Georgia’s efforts in diversifying energy supply routes for Europe and welcomes the ongoing and future multilateral projects such as AGRI and NABUCCO.
Georgia continues to efficiently and transparently implement its 1st MCC Compact, which has been duly recognized by the MCC Board of Directors.
Expanding Horizons: The People-to-People Working Group met in Tbilisi on January 21, 2010. With U.S. assistance, Georgia has increased cultural opportunities for its citizens and society. Together, we have also dramatically increased the number of Georgian exchange students, while expanding the number of American English-language teachers in Georgia. Overall, nearly 3,000 Georgian citizens have participated in U.S.-funded exchange programs. These efforts are central to Georgia’s future development and economic prosperity.
The Georgian Government has contributed to the process by the significant progress it made in reforming the education system and by launching an ambitious Teach and Learn with Georgia project aimed at increasing the number of English speaking Georgians and fostering cultural exchanges.
The United States supports the objectives of Georgia’s State Strategy on Occupied Territories and is prepared to undertake activities that reinforce those important objectives.