Acting Deputy Chief of Mission Jason Kalbfleisch’s comments to media at U.S. Education Fair Tbilisi (October 30)
Q-n about U.S. Education Fair
A/DCM Jason Kalbfleisch: We are very excited today to have 16 American universities here. I think it is a great opportunity for Georgian students and for the United States. The U.S. Embassy sends about 200 students a year to the United States. We sponsor the vast majority of students to the United States for different programs. This opportunity, to get the American universities together with Georgian students, is a unique opportunity for the U.S. Embassy and Georgian students. We are excited to have them here and excited for Georgians and Americans to interact at the university level. So, I think it is good for the students and good for Georgia.
Q-n about American Ambassador designate Kelly Degnan’s hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee; and holding fair, transparent and multiparty elections in 2020 being one of her top priorities.
A/DCM Jason Kalbfleisch: Yesterday was another step in the process for Ambassador-nominee Degnan. We are all very excited she has taken that next step. As you said, yesterday she had her hearing with the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, so once she’s voted out of Committee, she will have to have a hearing with the full Senate, and once she is confirmed by the full Senate, then she will come to Georgia. Again, this is once again just a step in the process, and we cannot say now when she will be in Georgia, but we are all excited that the process continues, and we look forward to having her here as soon as possible.
Q-n about 2020 Parliamentary elections specifically as mentioned by the nominee
A/DCM Jason Kalbfleisch: Those talking points are American Embassy talking points. The U.S. government, through USAID and other agencies, is working very hard with the Georgian government and with Georgian civil society to ensure that the 2020 elections will be the best ever. This is a huge effort for USAID here, who spent around 14 million dollars to prepare for this election, to prepare Georgian institutions and civil society for this Elections. So, we expect that this will be the best Elections in the history of Georgia, and we are excited that we can partner with Georgia to make sure that they (the elections) are free and fair.