US, Georgia sign accord on defense, energy

The US and Georgia have agreed to step up physical security of energy transit across the trans-Caucasus to European markets as part of the US-Georgia Charter on Strategic Partnership signed Jan. 9.

Eric Watkins
Oil Diplomacy Editor

LOS ANGELES, Jan. 13 -- The US and Georgia have agreed to step up physical security of energy transit across the trans-Caucasus to European markets as part of the US-Georgia Charter on Strategic Partnership signed Jan. 9.

"We intend to build upon over a decade of cooperation among our two countries and Azerbaijan and Turkey, which resulted in the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan and Baku-Supsa oil pipelines and the Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum natural gas pipelines, to develop a new Southern Corridor to help Georgia and the rest of Europe diversify their supplies of natural gas by securing imports from Azerbaijan and Central Asia," the two nations said.

Before signing the document with her Georgian counterpart Grigol Vashadze, US Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice renewed US support for Georgia's territorial integrity in an allusion to the 2008 war between Georgia and Russia.

"The US…will always support Georgia's sovereignty and its territorial integrity, as well as its Euro-Atlantic aspirations and its integration into the institutions of the Euro-Atlantic," Rice said.

Russia invaded Georgia last August after the Tbilisi government tried to retake the breakaway region of South Ossetia by force. The conflict saw considerable disruption in the transit of oil and gas across the region, with Russian warplanes said to have targeted pipelines and railways.

Contact Eric Watkins at hippalus@yahoo.com.

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