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John Sullivan and Davit Zalkaliani. Photo: mfa.gov.ge

Foreign Minister Visits U.S., Meets Deputy Secretary of State

Foreign Minister Davit Zalkaliani met on 26 July, the U.S. Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan on the sidelines of a three-day Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom in Washington DC.

The officials discussed wide range of bilateral and multilateral issues, with the Georgian side highlighting the possibility of signing a free trade agreement between the two countries. “It was also noted that our economic cooperation should closely track our political relations with U.S., as well as the relations we have in defense and security,” Zalkaliani underscored.

After the meeting, U.S. State Department’s Spokesperson Heather Nauert stated that Deputy Secretary Sullivan thanked Georgia for its contribution to NATO’s Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan and reinforced U.S. support for Georgia’s sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity.

She also noted that the two leaders focused on the outcomes of the recent NATO Brussels Summit and ongoing judicial and economic reforms in Georgia.

Georgian Foreign Minister is in the U.S. to attend religious freedom ministerial on July 24-26. Today he will participate in the plenary session on the role of government. During his visit to Washington DC, Zalkaliani also met with the foreign policy expert community.

Georgia on U.S.-Russia agenda

As part of the visit to Washington, Minister Zalkaliani also met Senator Bob Corker (Rep.), Chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, to discuss U.S.-Georgia strategic partnership.

On July 25, Senator Corker mentioned Georgia in his opening statement at the hearing of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s testimony over America’s national security strategy, saying that Russian President Vladimir Putin – among other violations of fundamental international norms – “has occupied portions of Georgia.”

The Pompeo hearing came nine days after U.S. President Donald Trump met with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin in Helsinki on July 16. Among other “pieces of proof” to that President Trump is “well aware of the challenges that Russia poses” to U.S., its partners and allies, Secretary Pompeo underscored that “we made defensive weapons available to Ukraine and to Georgia.”

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