Georgians Make Perilous Promise to Fight Corruption

(Eurasianet)–The United States–apparently impressed with Georgia’s new plans to fight corruption and indict corrupt officials before 2004–has agreed to provide unprecedented aid to Georgia’s Ministry of Internal Affairs. This would be a "reconfiguration" of Washington’s aid to Georgia–said a senior American official who spoke to EurasiaNet on December 4–and a fresh chance for a ministry that diplomats have long considered corrupt.

The American official–who spoke on the condition of anonymity–spent two days meeting with leaders from Georgia’s interim government. According to the official–an advisor from Washington will soon report to the ministry. This would be a major vote of confidence in the leadership of temporary president Nino Burjanadze and presidential contender Mikhail Saakashvili–who swept into power when former president Eduard Shevardnadze resigned in the face of mass protest on November 23. Defections from his security forces played a key role in forcing Shevardnadze to quit.

This show of support from the military may have emboldened the new leaders who have promised to launch an anti-corruption campaign with several notable indictmen’s before the January 4 parliamentary and presidential elections.

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