Western and international institutions and humanitarian agencies have a strong presence in Georgia, and the country is among the top recipients of American aid—about a billion dollars over the past decade. Georgia is also an enthusiastic participant in NATO’s Partnership for Peace program and sought NATO membership.
Despite strong U. S. backing, the March 2008 Bucharest NATO Summit failed to offer Georgia a Membership Action Plan. The Summit did pledge, however, that Georgia would eventually be offered a path to membership. The 2012 Chicago NATO Summit reaffirmed the Bucharest pledge and welcomed Georgia’s progress in meeting its Euro-Atlantic aspirations through reforms, implementation of its Annual National Program and active political engagement with the Alliance in the NATO-Georgia Commission.
The U. S. and the EU provided almost $2 billion in aid following the August2008 War.
Georgian soldiers from Scout Platoon, Delta Co., 23rd Light Infantry Battalion participate in exercise at the Joint Multinational Readiness Center, Hohenfels, Germany, Feb. 17, 2010. The exercise wasthe last stage before the unit's deployment to Afghanistan. (U. S. Marine Corps).
Georgia has played an active role in NATO deployments. Georgia deployed up to 150 troops to Kosovo from 1999 to 2008; up to 2,000 troops during its2003-2008 commitment in Iraq; and has had troops in Afghanistan since 2004. Georgia doubled its troop presence in Afghanistan to over 1,500 in 2012, making it the largest non-NATO contributor there. Georgia has indicated a willingness to participate in a post-2014 follow-on mission to train Afghans ecurity forces. Some 28 Georgian troops have died in Afghanistan.
Parliament on basic direction of Georgia's foreign policy
Georgia's Parliament passed a bipartisan Resolution on Basic Direction of Georgia's Foreign Policy in March 2013, emphasizing the U. S. and EU as Georgia's main strategic partners. The initiative started as a Saakashvili proposal to place Georgia's Western orientation in the Constitution, but which was transformed into a parliamentary resolution by Prime Minister Ivanishvili rather than a legally binding act in order to retain flexibility on policy towards Russia.
Ivanishvili makes unexpected call to move toward NATO membership
Prime Minister Ivanishvili publicly stated in May 2013 that Georgia should seek a NATO Membership Action Plan (MAP) within the next year. The MAP is usually the final step before NATO membership. Since the prospects for NATO to give Georgia a MAP is unlikely while its territory is occupied by Russian forces, Ivanishvili's call appears designed to balance his efforts at rapprochement with Moscow.
Georgia concludes Association Agreement with EU
Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili (right) signs Association Agreement, June 27, 2014 (Georgian foreign minister’s website)
Despite Russian opposition, Georgia initialed an association and free trade agreement with the EU at its Eastern Partnership Summit in Vilnius in November 2013. Georgia and the EU signed the Association Agreement on June27, 2014.