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Aimed at Georgia2010-02-25 23:41
Strategic and transit opportunities of the Black Sea as well as occurrence of hydrocarbons keeps luring Americans forcing Washington to pursue an offensive policy in the counties along the coast including Romania, Bulgaria where deployment of Patriot missiles is planned and Georgia, the old favorite. Today Tbilisi is greeting an overseas delegation to discuss the cooperation strategy.
This week the United States are demonstrating tricks of diplomacy. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton proposed cooperation on anti-missile defense with Russia to protect Europe and Russia from Islamic threat - as it is believed. Clinton also highlighted that Georgia, now in conflict with Russia, remains a priority in US foreign policy.
Today the promises to Georgia are supported by deeds - the talks with US delegation in Tbilisi under Strategic partnership charter led by Jose Fernandez, US Assistant Secretary of State Economic, Energy and Business Affairs. As Georgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs reports "important economic initiatives" as well as "current issues" are discussed. The sides have already signed an energy cooperation treaty with USD 122 mln to be set aside for gas pipeline construction in vicinity of Poti and new power transmission lines in the West of Georgia.
The first round of talks under Strategic partnership charter was held in October 2009 when Alexander Vershbow, Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs came to Georgia. The second group of US Department of State delegation came to Tbilisi in November led by Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor Michael Posner to focus on development of democratic processes. In January there was a culture and education meeting of the group.
As Clinton promised at the hearings of US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations the USA will provide for a 8% increase in aid to Georgia. Extra USD 90 mln have already been allocated in the country's 2011 budget. There is one thing to be decided: how the money must be spent. Most probably this is what Fernandez is preoccupied with.
After the war in 2008 the USA promised and have already paid out a US 1 bln economic aid package to Georgia. The money was meant for refugees, infrastructure restoration, resumption of economic growth and sustentation of investors' trust as well as development of democratic institutions.
The Department of State reports to have allocated nearly USD 1.9 bln to Georgia since 1992 in support of democratic, economic and social development of the country. Without this money Georgia's rapid switch-over to pro-Western policies would not have been possible when Russia needed foreign financial aid for itself.
Naturally, not romantic aspirations like "triumph of democratic values" motivated practical-minded Americans spending these billions of dollars. Just like they yearned for access to the lease on oil deposits, in Caucasus the USA are resolving their own tasks in prejudice of democratic principles when it's necessary.
Now experts point to the States' higher activity in the Black Sea zone noting their desire to turn it into "NATO's internal lake", the point of several US interests.
Natural riches are least attractive. "The Kerch Strait ... controls access to the Azov Sea which is reputed to have largely untapped hydrocarbon reserves. Geologists believe the Azov Sea is likely part of the same seam of hydrocarbon deposits that stretches from southern Ukraine and Russia through the Black Sea to the Caspian and beyond", - Michel Chossudovsky, Director of the Centre for Research on Globalization (Canada) remarks.