Erika Olson, U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State overseeing policy for Southern Europe and the Caucasus, who arrived in Tbilisi on November 4, continues meetings in the Georgian capital. Today, she held meetings with Georgian Dream lawmakers, Foreign Minister David Zalkaliani, as well as CSO representatives.
Meeting with GD MPs
The meeting with ruling party MPs focused ondevelopments taking place in Georgia in the aftermath of local elections held in October, judicial reform, security, the situation in the wider region and strategic issues, as per GD lawmakers.
Georgian Dream chairperson Irakli Kobakhidze told reporters after the meeting that “we have discussed all of the topics, and we have talked the importance of peace in Georgia. Our main message is that we need a different agenda, that is oriented on the development.”
Lively exchange of ideas on security and cooperation in South Caucasus/Black Sea & our reform agenda in the post-election cycle with visiting DAS ErikaOlson @StateDept 🇬🇪🇺🇸 will work together as strategic partners to provide peace&security in the region and advance 🇬🇪 development pic.twitter.com/zMoo1IKm9w
— Nikoloz Samkharadze (@Samkharadze79) November 8, 2021
Nikoloz Samkharadze, Chair of Parliamentary Foreign Affairs Committee, told reporters that “the United States is ready to continue supporting judicial reform in Georgia. On our part, we expressed readiness to continue judicial reform based on… facts and needs identified through the analysis of the third and fourth reform of judiciary.”
Meeting in the Foreign Ministry
At the meeting in the Foreign Ministry, the Deputy Assistant Secretary has met Georgian top diplomat David Zalkaliani and First Deputy Foreign Minister Lasha Darsalia.
The parties discussed, among others, U.S.-Georgia strategic partnership, Georgia’s occupied regions and the security environment in the Black Sea and the South Caucasus regions.
“The parties expressed readiness to continue deepening U.S.-Georgia partnership in all priority directions,” according to the press release by the Georgian Foreign Ministry.
Had a very productive meeting with US DAS Erika Olson. Discussed key priorities of robust 🇺🇸🇬🇪 strategic partnership, regional security & joint efforts for peace & stability in t/ Black Sea/South Caucasus region. Working together to further enhance 🇺🇸🇬🇪 partnership. @StateDept pic.twitter.com/ys1vikBWbE
— David Zalkaliani (@DZalkaliani) November 8, 2021
Meeting with CSOs
Economic Policy Research Center director Nino Evgenidze said, during the meeting, they discussed with Ms. Olson wide variety of issues, including post-election “political crisis,” election reform, “democratic backsliding” and the fate of democratic institutions in the country. Evgenidze noted that the imprisonment of Mikheil Saakashvili, the former President has also been discussed.
Erika Olson will meet with Georgian opposition leaders tomorrow. Earlier, the U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State has already met with Prime Minsiter Irakli Garibashvili on November 4.
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