US Department of State: Georgia remains strong security partner
US Department of State: Georgia remains strong security partner

“Georgia continued its robust engagement across a range of counterterrorism issues in 2020. Owing to COVID-19 constraints, Georgia participated in a limited number of bilateral CT-related exercises and trainings with the United States in 2020 but remained a strong U.S. security partner, reads the Country Report on Terrorism of the US Department of State.

The report remarks that there were no reported terrorist incidents in Georgia in 2020. No Georgian citizens were observed travelling to Syria or Iraq in 2020 for terrorist activities. Georgian border patrol agents check individuals, vehicles, and travel documents against national and INTERPOL databases.

“In 2020, Georgia worked to enhance its border, maritime, and aviation security through infrastructure projects and legislation. Georgia’s Border Police and Coast Guard, both well organized and highly competent, provide the initial response capability along Georgia’s land and maritime borders, respectively. The Border Police completed infrastructure projects along borders with Russia, Azerbaijan, Armenia, and Turkey, all of which will increase year-round patrolling, surveillance, and deterrence capabilities. Georgia also installed video surveillance and monitoring system on one sector of its land border with Azerbaijan and added additional vehicles and helicopters to its border patrol fleets.

Approximately 350 Georgian border and patrol police received basic counterterrorism tactics training from the U.S. Department of State’s Diplomatic Security Office of Criminal Investigations. Georgia also participated in multi-agency training on countering WMDs in the maritime domain and various international CBRN trainings and projects. The Department of Defense’s Office of Defense Cooperation is working with the Georgian Coast Guard to bolster its ability to reduce waterborne smuggling of all types of illicit contraband. Georgia continues to work with relevant state authorities, air carriers, and international partners for the further technical implementation of API/PNR systems.

In 2020, Georgia adopted Rules on the Exploitation of Unmanned Aircraft Systems to help protect Georgian airspace. Border closures enacted because of the COVID-19 pandemic helped stem the travel of known or suspected terrorists to, from, and through Georgia.

In May, Georgian citizen Tsezar Tokhosashvili was extradited to Georgia from Ukraine for his involvement in ISIS-related activities. Georgian courts tried and convicted Tokhosashvili for participating in a terrorist organization and sentenced him to 10 years’ imprisonment,” reads the report.

A separate chapter of the country report focuses on financing the fight against terrorism and violent extremism and notes the progress made by Georgia in this regard.