US expands Georgia's defense capabilities
US Secretary of State John Kerry arrived in Tbilisi in anticipation of the next NATO summit in Warsaw, on which great hopes were pinned by Georgian politicians. However, apparently Tbilisi should not expect to receive not only the MAP [the so-called Membership Action Plan] in the course of the summit to join the alliance, but also the associated partner country status, which was promised previously instead of the MAP.
Thus, Kerry's visit became a 'consolation prize' for the Georgians, although an important agreement 'On deepening cooperation in the sphere of defense and security' was signed during the Secretary of State's stay in Tbilisi." Kerry explained at a joint press conference with the Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili that the document provides for Georgia's 'expansion of defense capabilities', in particular, the Ministry of Defense will be able to buy defensive weapons from US companies. Theoretically, they already have such a possibility, especially since the US Congress passed a resolution on the supply of defensive weapons to Tbilisi after the five-day war in 2008, but the administration of President Barack Obama has hampered deliveries. Apparently, these restrictions will be removed after the visit of the Secretary of State.
The US side has consistently emphasized at various levels that it is exclusively about defensive weapons. In particular, according to data of Vestnik Kavkaza, Georgia is ready to buy 'Javelin' anti-tank missile systems. However, it is possible that the actual delivery will be blocked at the stage of approval of the transaction by the Pentagon, as it happened many times before. In any case, it was the formal reason why Georgia didn't get the 'Javelin' systems in 2010, when everything seemed to be ready.
"Georgia has made a significant contribution to NATO's Afghan operation," Kerry said, as if explaining to everyone why Washington is so courteous in relation to a small country with big problems. "The Georgian contingent in Afghanistan remains the largest among the contingents of non-NATO nations".
Of course, Georgian journalists were mostly interested in the Warsaw Summit. However, answering the direct question of "What will our country receive in Warsaw?" Kerry did not say anything specific, mentioning only "strong political support." Responding to the same question, Prime Minister Kvirikashvili said that "NATO and Georgia will make a joint statement" following the results of the Warsaw summit. Of course, it is much less than Tbilisi expected.
However, John Kerry hastened to calm the public, calling on Georgian citizens "not to be disappointed and wait for the moment when it becomes possible to carry out the decision of the Bucharest summit 2008". This refers to the phrase in the Bucharest memorandum that Georgia "will definitely become a NATO member" in the future. The Secretary of State considers it necessary to explain that the delay in the implementation of promises and the skepticism of some NATO members is associated with the situation in Syria and Ukraine. Kerry recalled that the United States has already made a significant contribution to the "development and success of Georgia", allocating the country $4.5 billion during the period of its independence. "We will continue to help your beautiful and democratic country," the US diplomat promised, noting that the upcoming parliamentary elections on October 8 will be "a test for Georgian democracy."