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On 6 May 2017, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Georgia, Mikheil Janelidze, hosted a briefing where he stated:

“On 5 May 2017, after confirmation in the US House of Representatives and the US Senate, President Donald Trump signed the budget law (Consolidated Appropriations Act for 2017 which will remain in force until the end of this year). The US President’s signature on this act is a very important and unprecedented event for Georgia because it is the first time when a US legislative act contains a provision about the occupation of Georgia’s territories… According to the law, none of the funds appropriated by the act may be made available for assistance for the central government of a country that has recognised the independence of or has established diplomatic relations with the Russian occupied Georgian territories of Abkhazia and the Tskhinvali Region/South Ossetia. At the same time, the document states that US representatives of any international financial institutions are forbidden to allocate any assistance for any programmes that violate the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Georgia.”

FactCheck

took interest in the details of this positive event.

The United States’ Consolidated Appropriations Act

is an annual legislative act which defines the budget for a fiscal year (accounting period for the US Federal Government) and is in force from 1 October to 30 September each year. The budget incorporates funds for federal government departments, agencies and programmes. The document outlines priorities for the US Federal Government and determines foreign and internal funding issues. The act, after confirmation in the House of Representatives and the Senate, is signed by the US President. The act is important as it defines the national interests of the United States and details respective financial measures to protect those interests.

In the Consolidated Appropriations Act for 2017,

which was signed by Donald Trump on 5 May 2017, Russia’s occupation of Georgian territories is underlined several times. One of the largest chapters of the act is entitled “Country Transition Plan” which includes a sub-chapter entitled “Countering Russian Influence and Aggression.” In turn, this sub-chapter contains a provision entitled “Occupation of the Georgian Territories of Abkhazia and the Tskhinvali Region/South Ossetia.” The provision incorporates the following definitions:  none of the funds appropriated by the act may be made available for the central governments of the countries that have recognised the independence of or have established diplomatic relations with the Russian occupied Georgian territories of Abkhazia and the Tskhinvali Region/South Ossetia. No later than 90 days after enactment of the act, the Secretary of State is to submit a report on actions taken by the Russian Federation to further consolidate the occupation of Abkhazia and the Tskhinvali Region. US representatives of any international financial institutions are forbidden to allocate any assistance for any programmes that violate the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Georgia.

Of particular note is that the act stipulates the allocation at least USD 100 million for assistance to counter Russian influence and aggression in countries in Europe and Eurasia. Additional assistance for the “Eastern Partnership

” countries will be made available for the implementation of Association Agreements and trade agreements with the European Union and for decreasing Russian influence.

Even though the United States frequently uses the term “occupied” in official statements, this is the first time when this term has appeared in a legislative act.

Therefore, FactCheck concludes that Mikheil Janelidze’s statement is TRUE.