The United States has announced a new economic support package for Georgia, totaling at least one billion dollars, to meet humanitarian needs and facilitate economic reconstruction in the wake of a recent conflict with Russia.
The two-part package includes emergency assistance now, and a second phase of financial support to help Georgia regain its position as one of the world’s fastest growing economies.
U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice commented on the package at a recent briefing:
“The inherent strength of the Georgian economy, coupled with the industriousness of the Georgian people, have moderated the economic impact of Russia’s invasion. Yet Georgia’s needs are great, especially its economic needs.”
As many as one-hundred-thirty-thousand Georgians were forced from their homes by the fighting. While approximately sixty-thousand-five-hundred have returned home, others remain sheltered in collective centers in and around Georgia. The U.S. has delivered nearly thirty-eight million dollars in humanitarian assistance to Georgia since the conflict began.
The new support package will draw together funds from a number of U.S. assistance programs. These funds, said Secretary of State Rice, are earmarked to help the Georgian economy and to address humanitarian needs. The package does not include military assistance.
Secretary of State Rice noted that the Georgian government is also already working with the International Monetary Fund. Also, the European Union has offered to host an international donors conference for Georgia:
“The United States, our friends and our allies are achieving our objectives: Georgian democracy and independence endures. The world has rallied to Georgia’s side in an unprecedented show of support.”
“With our full support and the support of the entire free world,” said Secretary Rice, “A democratic Georgia will survive, will rebuild, and will thrive.”