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US pledges $30m to boost Georgia’s military support

The United States (US) is offering Georgia $30 million USD in financial aid and a further $57 million to Moldova, Georgia and Ukraine collectively in a bid to increase US military deployments in Eastern European ally countries and offer more support to its partners.

The US Senate and the House of Representatives reached agreement on December 10 regarding the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, 2015’ bill, that funds the government through September 30, 2015.

In particular, the US will allocate $30 million (about 56 million GEL) from its Foreign Military Financing (FMF) program in the framework of the 2015 fiscal year Appropriations Bill, and the legislation will provide discretionary funding for the vast majority of the federal government for the current fiscal year.

Furthermore, the package also noted the European Reassurance Initiative (ERI) program would see $57 million allocated collectively for Moldova, Georgia and Ukraine.

The ERI is an $810 million USD program that is part of US President Barack Obama’s OCO request to increase US military deployments in Eastern European ally countries and offer more support to partners.

Obama announced the plan of a $1 billion fund to boost its military support to NATO’s Eastern European allies and partners, among them Georgia, on June 3, during a visit to Poland.

At the time Obama urged US Congress to support the $1 billion support fund, which would be a “powerful demonstration of America’s unshakeable commitment to our NATO allies.”

The ‘Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, 2015’ outlined an allocation of $810 million to the ERI program to support the rotation of US Armed Forces through Europe and to increase training and equip programs for European countries.

Officials in Tbilisi welcomed the announcement.

“This bill was supported by two major political parties – the Democratic and Republicans of the US – so not only the governmental structures support Georgia,” said the press speaker of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs David Kereselidze.

He was confident the US closely observed the situation in Georgia.

“[The US] also shares and supports Georgia’s Euro-Atlantic aspirations,” he said.

Looking ahead, the US House of Representatives and the Senate will have to approve the bill. Later, the bill will be signed by President Obama.