Ambassador Degnan’s comments after meeting with Minister of Economy Turnva

This was an excellent opportunity to discuss the importance of diversifying Georgia’s energy market.  Georgia’s energy security is so important, but it depends on having a diverse and well-developed energy market.  I think there needs to be good dialogue with communities that are impacted by different energy projects, and that is the basis for one of USAID’s important new programs, Securing Georgia’s Energy Future, which will be starting up in the next month or so.  And the idea there is to be sure that the public understands how vitally important it is to develop and diversify Georgia’s energy market here, but to make sure that there is public understanding and ownership, and public participation in that process.  This was a very good opportunity for the minister and me to go over some of the projects that Georgia is considering, the initiatives, and look at ways the United States can help Georgia in this important sector.