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U.S. State Department Delegation Holds Meetings in Georgia

Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili met with the U.S. delegation led by Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, Bridget Brink on May 24. Foreign Minister Mikheil Janelidze and Prime Minister’s Foreign Adviser, Tedo Japaridze also attended the meeting.

The sides discussed a wide range of issues, among them the U.S.-Georgia Charter on Strategic Partnership, the U.S. assistance to Georgia, reforms, the country’s European and Euro-Atlantic integration and PM Kvirikashvili’s recent visit to Washington.
 
Earlier, on May 23, Deputy Assistant Secretary Brink and the U.S. delegation held the tenth meeting of the U.S.-Georgia Strategic Partnership Commission’s Democracy and Governance Working Group. The Georgian side was represented by the First Deputy Foreign Minister David Zalkaliani and First Deputy Justice Minister, Alexander Baramidze; representatives of various branches of government, including the parliamentary majority and minority groups also participated.

According to Zalkaliani, “the U.S. side reiterated that deepening strategic partnership with Georgia remains a priority of the U.S. foreign policy.”

During the meeting with Georgian Defense Minister Levan Izoria on May 25, Deputy Assistant Secretary Brink discussed Georgia Defense Readiness Program (GDRP) and the establishment of a combat training center in Georgia, as well as the plans for implementing the Substantial NATO-Georgia Package initiatives. Brink reiterated the U.S. support for Georgia’s NATO membership bid. U.S. Ambassador to Georgia, Ian Kelly also attended the meeting.

President Giorgi Margvelashvili, who met with Bridget Brink and the U.S. delegation on May 24, thanked the United States for its support of Georgia’s territorial integrity and sovereignty, calling the United States “number one strategic partner of Georgia.” 

The U.S. delegation also held separate meetings in the Georgian Parliament with the opposition parties United National Movement (UNM) and Movement for Liberty – European Georgia; a number of issues, including amendments to the Georgian Constitution and election law were discussed.

UNM lawmaker, Nika Melia said that the participants discussed the issue of municipal elections set for October 2017, as well as the recent assault on the State Audit Office Chair. Otar Kakhidze of European Georgia said that the rule of law, judicial independence and media pluralism in Georgia were discussed during the meeting with the U.S. delegation.

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