Thursday, September 4, 2008

Rice: U.S. to Give $1 Billion to 'Help Georgia Sustain Itself'

Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, September 4, 2008; Page A12

The Bush administration announced a $1 billion aid package to Georgia yesterday, making the former Soviet republic one of the highest per capita recipients of U.S. economic assistance.

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who unveiled the plan, drew a direct line between what she called Russia's irresponsible behavior in sending troops into Georgian territory last month and the need for "the free world" to "help Georgia sustain itself during these difficult times."

Congress has supported the administration's strong backing for Georgia and criticism of Russia. Two weeks ago, on his return from a visit to Tblisi, Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr. (Del.), chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the Democratic vice presidential nominee, called the Russian invasion "one of the most significant events to occur in Europe since the end of communism" and first proposed boosting U.S. aid to Georgia by $1 billion.

The International Monetary Fund said this week it will lend Georgia $750 million to replenish its foreign currency reserves.

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