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Georgia - Foreign Relations

Georgia's location, situated between the Black Sea, Russia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Turkey, gives it strategic importance far beyond its size. It is developing as the gateway from the Black Sea to the Caucasus and the larger Caspian region, but also serves as a buffer between Russia and Turkey. Georgia has a long and close relationship with Russia, but it is reaching out to its other neighbors and looking to the West in search of alternatives and opportunities. It signed a partnership and cooperation agreement with the European Union, participates in NATO's Partnership for Peace program, and encourages foreign investment. China, France, Germany, Great Britain, Greece, Italy, Russia, Switzerland, and Turkey maintain embassies in Tbilisi. Germany is a significant bilateral donor. Georgia is a member of the UN, the OSCE, and the CIS. It is an observer in the Council of Europe.

Russia continued to occupy the separatist regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. On August 26, 2008, Russia recognized these regions as independent, in violation of Georgias sovereignty and territorial integrity.

Georgia actively cooperates with the Baltic countries on a broad range of issues. Sharing the experience of the Baltic States in European and Euro-Atlantic integration is important for Georgia. Support from these countries to Georgia on its path to NATO and EU integration is important.

Georgia considers cooperation with Central and Southeast European and Scandinavian states to be of significant importance. Deepening economic and political relations with these states, and their support for Georgian sovereignty and reforms, are important. Georgia attaches great importance to cooperation with Moldova and Belarus and welcomes their participation in the EUs Eastern Partnership. Georgia, as a natural bridge between Europe and Asia, pays great attention to close cooperation with Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan, especially with respect to the economy, transport, and energy. The main goal of this cooperation is to facilitate the free movement of people, goods, services, and capital between West and East. It is important for Georgia to keep the Central Asian states informed about Georgias ongoing reform processes and its foreign policy priorities. The Russian Federations attempts to forcefully change international borders that were recognized after the dissolution of the Soviet Union challenge the security of Russias neighbors.

One of Georgias major foreign and security policy priorities is membership in NATO and the European Union. As a Black Sea and Southeast European country, Georgia is part of Europe geographically, politically, and culturally; yet it was cut off from its natural course of development by historical cataclysms. Integration into NATO and the EU is Georgias sovereign choice, one which will strengthen Georgias security and ensure its stable development.

Georgia is determined to make the utmost of the potential of strategic partnership with Ukraine. Ukraine, growing in its role as a democratic and peaceful state, will contribute to regional stability and security in Europe. Georgia and Ukraine cooperate in foreign and national security policy, not only on a bilateral level but also in such multilateral contexts as the UN, the OSCE, the Council of Europe, the Black Sea Economic Cooperation, and GUAM. Cooperation with Ukraine in the Euro-Atlantic integration process is important. Georgia also welcomes Ukraines participation in the EUs Eastern Partnership.

Turkey is Georgias leading partner in the region. Turkey supports the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Georgia and its efforts to develop stable political, economic, and security institutions. Turkey is Georgias largest trade and economic partner. Free trade and visa-free regimes operate between Georgia and Turkey. Deepening economic, energy, and transport relationships, and the successful implementation of other projects, are of strategic importance for both countries. Georgia and Turkey cooperate in regional projects such as the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan and Baku-Erzurum pipelines. Regional energy and transportation projects such as Nabucco, the Eurasian Oil Transport Corridor, White Stream, and the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars Railway, which are in various stages of planning and realization, are also important.

Georgia continues to deepen its strategic partnership with the US, a fact reflected in the US-Georgia Charter on Strategic Partnership signed in January 2009. By focusing on the implementing of concrete decisions by working groups, this document advances the development of mutual relations in defense and security; economy, trade, and energy, democracy; and intercultural exchanges. The deepening of economic and trade relations with the United States, attracting US investments, and growing Georgian exports to the US are important for Georgia. The preferential trade regime with the US advantages import tariffs to Georgia. At the same time, the Georgian Government is determined to complete a free-trade agreement with the United States.

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Page last modified: 30-09-2012 18:06:49 ZULU