Georgian Defense Minister Irakli Garibashvili, who visited the United States on November 19-22, said partnership between the two countries “has never been stronger.”
At a joint news briefing at the Pentagon, Norquist said “the strategic partnership between the United States and Georgia, based on a mutual commitment to defending and promoting shared values, has never been stronger.”
“The U.S. applauds Georgia’s contribution to NATO’s Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan, and appreciates the sacrifice Georgian service members have made to enhance security and stability around the world,” he stated.
On his part, Minister Garibashvili thanked the U.S. for supporting Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, and the country’s European and Euro-Atlantic aspirations.
In his remarks, the Georgian Defense Minister spoke of Russia’s “ongoing occupation, borderization and militarization” of Georgia’s Abkhazia and Tskhinvali Region/South Ossetia as one of the key challenges, deteriorating the overall security situation in the region.
“Together, we are building a modern, NATO interoperable, combat-ready, lethal, resilient and highly mobile force capable of providing credible deterrence and defense,” Garibashvili noted.
On November 21, Garibashvili had a meeting at the Atlantic Council, where the Georgian Defense Minister also spoke, among others, on recent detention and sentencing of Georgian doctor Vazha Gaprindashvili in Russian-occupied Tskhinvali.
Hosted @GharibashviliGe of @ModGovGe for frank conversation about Georgia-US defense plans, regional security, US policies as well as the tense political situation in Georgia and rules for 2020 elections @GeorgianEmbassy @GovernmentGeo pic.twitter.com/pq6TPmwVmm
— Damon M. Wilson (@DamonMacWilson) November 21, 2019
Earlier that day, Minister Garibashvili met with the President of Marine Corps University Brigadier General Jay M. Bargeron and Georgian officers studying there, emphasizing the importance of military education in the U.S.
Attending the 25-year anniversary of partnership with the Georgia National Guard in Atlanta on November 20, Garibashvili received the Oglethorpe Award for “exceptionally meritorious service and contribution in development of a long and firm strategic partnership” between U.S. and Georgia.
On the first day of his visit on November 19, Irakli Garibashvili visited Maneuver Center of Excellence and the 1st Security Force Assistance Brigade, and also laid the wreath at the memorial with the names of Georgian peacekeepers Lt. Giorgi Margievi and Cpl. Zurab Gvenetadze.