U.S. Ambassador on EU Loan Refusal, UNM Joining April 19 Deal

U.S. Ambassador Kelly Degnan took up reporters’ questions on the Georgian government’s preemptive refusal of the conditional EU loan and the opposition United National Movement party signing the April 19 deal.

Speaking at the opening ceremony of the American Culture Center in Tbilisi on September 2, the diplomat said she is sure the U.S. legislators will take note of the Georgian authorities’ “statement that they don’t need” the EUR 75 million in assistance.

The United States Congress is watching what happens here, and we always coordinate with the Georgian Government as to what kind of support they need and want,” she highlighted.

The Ambassador stressed that it is important that the judicial reforms the loan was conditioned on are still made, “whether it’s tied to 75 million Euros or not.” She also noted the U.S. was surprised at the Government’s refusal of the assistance considering the high unemployment and poverty rate, as well as the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the country.

The U.S. diplomat also welcomed the UNM, largest opposition party, joining the Brussels-mediated agreement, dubbing the move “a good sign.”

She highlighted that the “reforms and steps” included in the deal were negotiated and agreed upon among Georgian leaders themselves. “These were not imposed by the U.S. or the EU,” the Ambassador asserted, and expressed hope the provisions will be implemented.

Ambassador Degnan said she also hopes the Parliament will take it “seriously” that the roadmap outlined in the document “are the priorities they need to address because they will make a difference in the lives of every Georgian.” 

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