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Georgian Politicians on Secretary Pompeo’s Visit

On November 18, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met with Georgian leaders, President Salome Zurabishvili, Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia, Foreign Minister Davit Zalkaliani, as well as civil society representatives, and Georgian Orthodox Patriarch Ilia II.

Following Secretary Pompeo’s departure from Tbilisi, politicians from the ruling Georgian Dream and the opposition parties made remarks on the top U.S. diplomat’s visit.

At the November 19 Government meeting, Georgia’s Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia said he discussed strengthening Georgia’s democratic institutions, deepening U.S.-Georgia strategic partnership, and the roles of Tbilisi and Washington in ongoing regional developments with Secretary Pompeo.

“The Secretary of State, on behalf of the American people and Government, reaffirmed his unwavering support for the country’s [Georgia’s] territorial integrity and sovereignty, for our Euro-Atlantic development, and most importantly, for further deepening trade and economic relations,” the Georgian PM stated.

Slamming the ruling Georgian Dream party, United National Movement’s Davit Kirkitadze said “the government did not make any offers [to Secretary Pompeo], such as the deployment of a U.S. military base in our country, visa-free travel with the U.S., they did not even mention a free trade agreement with the U.S.”

Sergi Kapanadze of the European Georgia party said Secretary Pompeo’s visit amid major security challenges in the region, including threats of war, Russian aggression, and cybersecurity concerns, emphasizes the U.S. presence and the intention to remain in the region. Kapanadze also reiterated opposition parties’ support for “constant U.S military presence in Georgia.”

General Secretary of the Labor Party Giorgi Gugava stressed that the key message from the U.S. during the visit was support for Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, not support for the government. “You saw that they did not even hold a joint public press conference with a representative of the current government,” the Labor Party leader added.

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