30 congressmen of the United House of Representatives sent a letter to President Donald Trump commemorating the 25th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Georgia. The letter initiated by the co-chairs of the Congressional Caucus on Georgia, Ted Poe (R-Texas) and Gerald Connolly (D-Virginia) represents a clear example of U.S. bipartisan support for Georgia. The letter is signed by congressmen of both branches of the Congress: Republicans and Democrats.
The letter recognizes the U.S. strong commitment to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Georgia. Besides, the Congressmen call on the President to launch negotiations on a free trade agreement with Georgia and to deepen a high-level dialogue on trade and investments. The Congressmen also urge the President to continue to support Georgia on its path of integration with NATO. The letter recognizes the strong strategic partnership between the two countries and encourages the Administration to strengthen even further this partnership.
“Over the last 25 years, Georgia has continued to develop its democratic institutions. Georgia has achieved substantial progress in both political and economic development by strengthening its institutions, reducing government regulation, fighting corruption, and simplifying its tax code. Georgia’s accomplishments are even more striking against the backdrop of continued Russian military aggression. Russia has illegally occupied twenty percent of Georgian territory since it invaded Georgia in 2008. Russian troops have continued the process of creeping annexation and frequently commit human rights violations and kidnappings throughout the occupied regions and adjacent territories” – reads the letter.
“Despite its own security challenges, Georgia plays a significant role in ensuring global security, namely in the fight against terrorism. Georgia is a committed and reliable U.S. partner, most notably manifested by serving shoulder-to-shoulder with American soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan. This country of less than four million people is one of the largest troop contributors to the international mission in Afghanistan, and Georgian soldiers have been killed in combat. Georgia’s military spending also exceeds two percent of its GDP, a benchmark that only five NATO member states currently meet. We ask that you continue historical U.S. support for Georgia’s bid to join NATO” – the Congressmen write in their letter to Donald Trump.
According to the letter, Georgia has a business-friendly environment and is a natural home for U.S. companies that want to do business in the wider Caucasus and Black Sea region. As a result, U.S. trade with Georgia has grown significantly over the past decade. In 2016, the U.S. exported over $324 million of goods to Georgia. We strongly encourage the Administration to make progress toward negotiations on a U.S.- Georgia Free Trade Agreement. The U.S.-Georgia High-Level Dialogue on Trade and Investment should produce a clear understanding of the commitments and obligations required for negotiations on a free trade agreement. Such an agreement would be beneficial for the U.S., Georgia, and the entire Caucasus and Central Asian region”.
“Georgia has been a reliable and strategic partner of the United States for more than 25 years. In December 2016, the Parliament of Georgia passed a bipartisan resolution affirming the U.S. as the major strategic partner and ally of Georgia. In September 2016, the U.S. House of Representatives passed its own resolution (H.Res.660), introduced by Georgia Caucus co-chairs Representatives Gerald E. Connolly and Ted Poe, expressing its unwavering support for the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Georgia. We reaffirm our bipartisan commitment to support Georgia and encourage the Administration to strengthen the strategic relationship. It is critical that the United States sends a strong message that we stand with Georgia, just as its people have done for us” - reads the joint letter of Republican and Democrat Congressmen to U.S. President Donald Trump.