US leads $4.5 billion “support package” for Georgia
International donors have offered $4.5 billion in aid to Georgia. The money is expected to be spent on rebuilding the country’s economy and infrastructure damaged after the conflict between Georgia and Russia last August.
The amount is a billion and a half dollars more than the figure initially estimated by the World Bank.
On Wednesday, 67 states and financial institutions met in Brussels to discuss the financial aid for Tbilisi.
Donors say these funds are intended for the country's infrastructure and refugees displaced by the hostilities in the Caucasus.
The European Union has allocated 500 million euros. The United States has become the main aid supplier, offering one billion dollars. Japan is offering 200 million euros.
In a statement, the US Department of State said:
“Over the next two years, the United States’ $1 billion dollar economic support package will provide for efforts to assist internally displaced people, rebuild infrastructure, restore economic growth, and sustain investor confidence in the Georgian economy as well as foster continued democratic reform and energy security.”
However, Russia is concerned that money may be used for military purposes. Moscow has repeatedly called for an arms embargo on Georgia to guarantee stability and peace in the region.
Benita Ferrero-Waldner, European Commissioner for External Relations, says that while the money is for Georgia, the EU would like to try to help people in South Ossetia and Abkhazia later.
“First of all we begin with the part of Georgia that has been occupied. But then we would like to have the ability to help those in South Ossetia and Abkhazia, especially refugees.”