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The Charter is signed. Questions remain2009-01-11 10:49
On January 9 the Charter on strategic partnership between the USA and Georgia was signed in Washington. The treaty was endorsed by Georgia's Foreign Minister Grigol Vashadze and US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in the Treaty Room of the US Department of State.
The Charter clauses are set forth on 6 sheets. The document deals with cooperation in practically all domains of the country life including trade. At the initial stage the USA shall simplify access of Georgian products to the American market and in the nearest future the parties will finalize and sign the free-trade agreement.
Grigol Vashadze reported on some of the clauses before signing. In his interview with RIA Novosti he pointed out: "The Charter will be a very important and historically meaningful agreement for the republic suggesting the beginning of truly strategic relations with the USA and rapprochement between Georgia and NATO. Both parties repeatedly acknowledge Georgia's territorial integrity, independence and sovereignty. The USA also undertake to upgrade the Georgian army and enhance the country's defense capacity".
The last part of Vashadze's speech was detailed by Chairman of Georgia's Parliament David Bakradze. "The USA continue assisting Georgia in enhancement of the country's defense capacity, - Bakradze is quoted by ITAR-TASS, - i.e. in training, preparation and arming of Georgia's armed forces".
However he did not confirm rumors that the document had a clause on deployment of American military bases in the republic. The information on the bases (in connection with the signed Charter) was disproved by the Americans too. Matthew Bryza, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State, made the following comment on the Charter: "I categorically assert that there is no reference to the bases in the Charter".
Now it is clear that the information on deployment of American bases in Georgia that has reached the press has no direct relationship to the Charter.
It will be remembered that on January 8 the Labor party leader Nestan Kirtadze stated at the press conference in Tbilisi: "Mikheil Saakashvili is holding intense negotiations with a group from US President George Bush's administration on construction of military bases in the republic. Saakashvili offers the country's territory to the group representatives for deployment of American bases for 90 years. This is appropriation of thousands of hectares of land without any taxes implied".