The Nov. 12 editorial "Mr. Bush's Challenge" said that Georgia owes its inclusion in the Millennium Challenge Account to political favoritism, not meeting the program's strict criteria.

But the numbers the editorial cited were dated and did not account for the democratic revolution last November and the subsequent election of our reform-minded president, Mikhail Saakashvili, in January.

Georgia now qualifies -- even based on the dated statistics from the previous failed government -- in three of the four major Millennium Challenge Account criteria, which is enough to secure inclusion in the program. The one area in which it was lacking was corruption. National frustration with corruption was a major reason for the "rose revolution" that brought Mr. Saakashvili to office.

For the administrators of the Millennium Challenge Account to punish the new government for the sins of the previous one would have been a tragic irony. Sound policy -- not politics -- drove the decision to open the program's doors to Georgia. Since January, our country has made dramatic headway in tackling police corruption, recovering stolen state assets and punishing those who preyed on the Georgian people through graft. This has allowed us to increase our tax revenue and spend more on priorities such as education and health care.



Embassy of Georgia