Ambassador Degnan participates in the opening of Georgia’s 18th McDonald’s restaurant
Today, Ambassador Kelly C. Degnan highlighted new jobs and opportunities created by the opening of the 18th Mcdonald’s restaurant in Georgia. The Ambassador was pleased to be a part of the ribbon-cutting ceremony marking the expansion of the iconic American brand.
Anew restaurant means economic growth for Georgians; not just the jobs in this new location, but also those who work to supply the restaurant with the materials it needs to serve its customers. The U.S. Embassy, through its USAID/GeorgiaAgriculture Program, is cooperating with McDonald’s on co-funding international certifications for vegetable and culinary herb producers in Georgia to become, eventually, suppliers for McDonald’s restaurants across Georgia and the region. Through this partnership, Georgian farmers will supply both domestic and international markets.
We congratulate McDonald’s on its successful expansion in Georgia and express our continued support for U.S. investment in this country.
Ambassador Kelly Degnan’s Remarks to Media at McDonald’s Opening (August 17)
Q-n about the event and the assessment of government’s new economic policy in light of gradually opening up
Ambassador Kelly Degnan: Today is a great example of economic recovery, I think. Not just one, but two McDonald’s franchises are opening today in Georgia, after a 26 million Lari expansion last year and this year. This is a great indication of the kind of partnership between American enterprise and standards, Georgian business entrepreneurship and, of course, the quality of Georgian ingredients. What is great about this is that it creates jobs not only here in the restaurant but also throughout the McDonald’s supply chain, because the growers of lettuce and tomatoes and potatoes here in Georgia are going to qualify for international quality certifications to be able to supply ingredients and packaging to the McDonald’s not just in Georgia, but throughout the region. So, this is the real success story.
Q-n about the recent developments in Belarus and the Georgian Government representatives’ allegedly special flight to Belarus
Ambassador Kelly Degnan: I think, Minister Turnava addressed the question of the flight. I do not have any information about that. But it is an important question regarding events in Belarus. The United States does not believe these elections were free and fair, and we strongly encourage the government to allow Belorussians to protest peacefully, to assemble and express themselves peacefully in accordance with democratic values. The United States supports Belarus’ sovereignty and we encourage that the protesters and the voters there to be treated with respect that they deserve.
Q-n about Stephen Biegun’s statement which mentioned the importance of the upcoming elections and that Georgia needs an independent and fair judiciary system, why these issues are raised, do they question the independence of judiciary in Georgia?
Ambassador Kelly Degnan: These elections are important. I think everybody realizes how important they are. These elections offer Georgians the opportunity to elect a more representative Parliament that is going to include voices that better represent the diversity of voices and interests in Georgia. I think there will be majoritarian slots, as people are familiar with. I hope Georgians are also paying attention to the proportional lists, that are going to be more important this time than previously, because there are more of them. And this is a step forward for Georgia toward fully proportional elections in 2024. So, free and fair elections, in October, are very important and, I think, the Deputy Secretary’s comments reflect the level of interest and concern in America, in Europe, and of course, here in Georgia as well.