The United States will increase its aid budget for Georgia by USD 100 million, the State Chancellery of Georgia said in reporting on the current five-day visit to Washington by Prime Minister Zurab Zhvaniya. The visit winds up tomorrow.
Georgia will now get USD 260 million for the year, with receipt of the funds slated to begin in the first half of May. Most of the money will go toward training Georgia's military.
In addition, the US has granted Georgia 50,000 tonnes of wheat, income from the sales of which is to be used on behalf of Georgia's agricultural sector.
While in the US, Zhvaniya has met with the leaders of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank and the US Agency for International Development (AID). Zhvaniya reached agreement with the IMF on restoring its credit arrangements with Georgia. The arrangements were halted in December 2002 because of the alleged high level of corruption and failures by the Georgian parliament and government to implement IMF recommendations. How much credit the IMF will allocate is to be announced after the IMF board meets on May 26 in Washington. It is already known that part of the aid will be used to bolster the hard-currency reserves of the National Bank of Georgia.
As for the Agency for International Development, it plans to finance a series of energy-related projects in Georgia. The total amount of the investment has not been made public, but it is known that the amount will top that provided this year by AID to any other of the post-Soviet states.
Three warships that set off on a mission from the Baltic Sea attracted close attention of the United States