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A pledge that changes will be made or a consolation prize?2009-01-11 16:51
On 9th January representatives of Georgia and the USA signed a Strategic Partnership Charter in Washington. Tbilisi officials view the signing of this document as a historic event. At the same time, some opposition parties are sceptical about this.
The full text of the agreement was not published until it was signed. But the historic moment when Grigol Vashadze and Condoleezza Rice signed the document was broadcast live. At the ceremony Rice said that the USA supported Georgia's sovereignty and territorial integrity.
On the whole, the agreement fixes on paper what was already in place. The charter provides for cooperation on five key points: European integration, defence, the economy, democracy and culture. Even before this, Washington has been trying to improve things as much as possible in these spheres. It is another matter that they have by no means always succeeded.
Georgian journalists are reporting from Washington that the USA is officially committing itself to the development of democracy and economic reforms in the republic, as well as the modernization of Georgia's army and an improvement to the country's defence capabilities.
The document consists of five sections. In the first the principles underlying the partnership are defined. They are the following: the USA will further Georgia's efforts to intensify links with the Euro-Atlantic community in the political, economic and social spheres, as well as inevitably in the defence sector. The aim is for Georgia's integration into European and transatlantic political, economic, security and defence institutions. Integration should take place on the basis of Georgia meeting the necessary standards.
The second section of the Charter foresees cooperation in the defence and security spheres. As well as movement towards NATO. On this issue the USA is promising its help in bringing about interaction between their armed forces, along with training the army so that it meets the required standards.
The third section is devoted to cooperation in the economic, trade and energy spheres. Here the main emphasis is on financial aid towards post-war reconstruction and financial stabilization.
The fourth section of the charter provides for the consolidation of democracy. The USA is committing itself to helping to develop independent media outlets and to strengthen the supremacy of the law.
The fifth section of the Charter is devoted to deepening contacts between their peoples and expanding cultural exchanges.