Georgia Country Profile

Situated at the strategically important crossroads where Europe meets Asia, Georgia has a unique and ancient cultural heritage, and is famed for its traditions of hospitality and cuisine. Over the centuries, Georgia was the object of rivalry between Persia, Turkey and Russia, before being eventually annexed by Russia in the 19th century. Since emerging from the collapsing Soviet Union as an independent state in 1991, Georgia has again become the arena of conflicting interests. Increasing US economic and political influence in the country has long been a source of concern for neighbouring Russia, as have Georgia's aspirations to join NATO and the EU.Tense relations with Russia have been further exacerbated by Moscow's support for the separatist regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.