MEDIA NOTE: U.S.-Georgia Strategic Partnership Commission (July 6)

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili co-chaired a plenary meeting of the U.S.-Georgia Strategic Partnership Commission in Tbilisi on July 6. Established in 2009, the U.S.-Georgia Strategic Partnership Commission seeks to deepen the bilateral cooperation between our countries with a view toward achieving shared goals across a broad spectrum of priorities, including in the areas of Democracy and Governance; Defense and Security; Economy, Energy, and Trade; and People-to-People and Cultural Exchanges.  As part of today’s meeting, Secretary Kerry announced several new initiatives to further strengthen our bilateral cooperation:

Defense and Security:  Secretary Kerry and Prime Minister Kvirikashvili signed a Memorandum on Deepening the Defense and Security Relationship between the United States and Georgia.  This Memorandum reaffirms and expands our bilateral defense and security cooperation in the areas of defense capacity building, military and security cooperation, and information sharing.

Economy, Energy and Trade:  Secretary Kerry announced the launch of a $15 million, 5-year Economic Resiliency Program administered by the U.S. Agency for International Development.  This program will develop the skills of Georgian business people and improve income generation in rural households. The primary beneficiaries of this program will be ethnic and religious minorities as well as communities in the vicinity of the Administrative Boundary Lines with Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

Democracy and Governance:  Secretary Kerry announced $1 million in assistance from the U.S. Department of Labor for an International Labor Organization program, which will improve the Government of Georgia’s ability to enforce labor legislation. This funding is in addition to a pre-existing $2 million U.S. contribution.

People-to-People:  Secretary Kerry and Prime Minister Kvirikashvili announced a new Memorandum of Understanding for the United States and Georgia to co-fund Georgia’s Fulbright Program.  The U.S. government funded three Fulbright Graduate Student Program scholarships in 2016; under the terms of this new agreement, the United States and Georgia envision roughly doubling the number of Georgian students receiving Fulbright scholarships to study in the United States.