June 14th, 2006 14:17 EST
U.S. Pledges $2 Million for South Ossetia Economic Rehabilitation
Washington – The United States has pledged $2 million for confidence-building measures and economic rehabilitation in Georgia’s South Ossetia region, the State Department announced June 14.
The pledge came during an Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) donors’ conference in Brussels, Belgium, in which participating states pledged more than 10 million euros (approximately $12.5 million) in economic assistance. (See related article.)
South Ossetia, an autonomous political subdivision of Georgia during the Soviet era, declared independence within the Soviet Union in September 1990. Georgia strongly opposed the move. Open warfare began in January 1991 and continued until June 1992, when Georgian, South Ossetian and Russian representatives negotiated a cease-fire agreement (See State Department fact sheet on South Ossetian conflict.)
The United States seeks a political settlement that would allow South Ossetia significant autonomy within a unified Georgia.
“Today's OSCE donors' conference in Brussels for Georgia's South Ossetia region marked an important step toward a peaceful resolution of the conflict within Georgia's internationally-recognized borders,” the State Department said in a June 14 media note.
“We welcome the solidarity of the international community in reaffirming its support for Georgia's territorial integrity,” the State Department said.
The OSCE said the donors’ conference in Brussels was the first of its kind and that the donations would be used to support a package of projects agreed on by all parties.
According to the OSCE, the pledges included: the European Commission (2 million euros), the United States (2 million U.S. dollars), Sweden (1 million euros), Belgium (1 million euros), Germany (500,000 euros), the Netherlands (500,000 euros), Norway (about 250,000 euros), Spain (200,000 euros) and Finland (200,000 euros). Estonia, Turkey, France, Hungary, the United Kingdom, Lithuania, Italy, the Czech Republic, Croatia, Poland and Andorra pledged amounts up to 150,000 euros.
The State Department media note is posted on the Department’s Web site.
For more on U.S. policy in the region, see Caucasus.
(Distributed by the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State. Web site: http://usinfo.state.gov)