Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, was "very clear" about "rule of law expectations" in Georgia when she met Georgian Foreign Minister, Maia Panjikidze, in Washington no November 29, the U.S. Department of State said.
In remarks made before the meeting, the Secretary of State said the October 1 parliamentary election was "a successful and important step on the further development of democracy in Georgia, and the move toward fulfilling the Euro-Atlantic aspirations that Georgia has."
"We are very much supportive of the peaceful transition to power that occurred as a result of this election by the new government, and we do hope that everything that is done with respect to prosecuting any potential wrongdoers is done transparently in accord with due process and the rule of law as is befitting of the Georgia dream and the aspirations and sensitivities of the Georgian people," Clinton said.
Panjikidze, who is visiting Washington five weeks after becoming Georgia’s new foreign minister and three weeks after visiting Brussels, said in her remarks before the meeting that she was grateful to the Secretary of State for inviting her "so soon after the elections in Georgia."
"We are very proud that the United States are our strategic partner," the Georgian Foreign Minister said. "And we will talk about the domestic and foreign challenges Georgia is facing today and I hope you will understand our issues and we will count on your help and support in the future."
A spokesperson for the Department of State, Victoria Nuland, said at a daily press briefing, that Clinton and Panjikidze had "a very good meeting."
Nuland said that Georgian new government’s "commitment to continuity in foreign policy” was among the issues discussed at the meeting, including in respect of Georgia’s NATO and EU integration and participation in Afghanistan operation, including its contribution to post-2014 NATO mission in Afghanistan. State Department spokesperson said that the U.S. was "very gratified" to hear that new government was committed to continuity in the foreign policy.
"The Secretary was very clear about our rule of law expectations," Nuland said.
“The Secretary was very clear in her public statements that this is something that the international community is watching and that undergirds our support for Georgia – democratic values that we share, and rule of law being key among them, are vital to our support for Georgia,” she said when asked about series of arrests of officials from the previous government in Georgia.
“In the bilateral meeting the Foreign Minister [Panjikidze] both began and ended the meeting with reassurances with regard to the way these cases will go forward and was very clear in understanding that they know the world is watching,” Nuland added.
PM Bidzina Ivanishvili, who paid his first official visit abroad to Brussels this month, said on November 22, that he was initially planning to pay a visit to the U.S. by late November, but “upon my request, which was shared by the American side, arrangements for my visit to the United States will start next year in due course.” Ivanishvili cited “too much work” internally as a reason behind his decision to postpone the U.S. trip.
The Department of State’s spokesperson said on November 29 that PM Ivanishvili "will be the guest of the White House" when he visits the United States.
Meanwhile in Tbilisi, U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs, Eric Rubin concluded his three-day visit to Georgia on November 29. He met President Saakashvili, PM Ivanishvili and other senior officials and participated in the defense and security working group meeting, held in frames of strategic partnership commission.
The working group on defense and security is one of those four inter-agency bilateral groups, which were established to address priority areas of the U.S.-Georgia Strategic Partnership Charter, which was signed in January, 2009. Other priority areas of cooperation identified by the charter are democracy, economic and people-to-people relations.
U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, Philip H. Gordon, was in Tbilisi two weeks ago, who also met with both the President and the Prime Minister.