Ambassador Degnan’s media comments on the sidelines of the Ken Walker University Clinic opening ceremony (July 24)

Q-n about importance of Ken Walker University Clinic for Media

Ambassador Kelly Degnan: I am very proud to be here for the opening of the Ken Walker University Clinic for Medical Rehabilitation. This is an excellent example of what private companies, universities, USAID and the Georgian Government can do together, to help a sector of society become more involved and able to participate in their governance and their society. Georgia has recently passed its law on the protection of rights of peoples with disabilities, which is a really important step to help this sector of society, and this rehabilitation clinic is another example of the kind of cooperation that can lead to real progress that will change lives here in Georgia.

Q-n about upcoming elections

Ambassador Kelly Degnan: We are very pleased to see the adoption of electoral reform legislation, which we think is going to be very important to setting the right conditions for free and fair elections. The key now is implementation. There were some provisions that weren’t included in the legislation that we would have liked to have seen in there, that were part of the OSCE/ODIHR recommendations. But truly, the key is whether this legislation is going to be vigorously implemented, to ensure that Georgian voters can go and cast their ballots freely and without intimidation in October. Thank you.

Q-n about the Defense Authorization Bill expressing support for Georgia, without mentioning the recommendations put forward by Senator Risch 

Ambassador Kelly Degnan: I think it is important to read the whole bill. There is lot of very positive commentary about what Georgia has accomplished and what the United States would like to see Georgia continue to do on its path to strengthening its democracy and its security. There is obviously an important message, and I think any time you get a message from someone like Senator Risch and Senator Shaheen, Representatives in Congress who care deeply about Georgia’s success, it is important to take that seriously and to hear what they are saying, because these are people who know Georgia and, as I said, who care about Georgia’s success.

Q-n about Frontera claiming the Georgian Government spreads disinformation about the company to discredit its image

Ambassador Kelly Degnan: We welcomed the Georgian government’s offer and statement yesterday as a good indication that it is willing to keep the channels of communication open with businesses. Disputes happen, but what’s important is that there are open channels of communication for companies to sit down with the government and work through it. That is what we would like to see continue to happen here – for parties to sit down and talk through a solution to this dispute.

Q-n about Azerbaijani media claiming Georgia is used to transit armed purchased in Serbia to Armenia

Ambassador Kelly Degnan: I think, as you say, this is a hypothetical question, and there needs to be a lot more information on it. I would defer to what the Prime Minister said, I assume you also asked him the same question. But what I will say is that we are very concerned about what is happening at the border, and I believe things have stabilized, and it is very encouraging to see that happening. Because the two countries need to return to the cease-fire, they need to work through this by diplomatic and dialogue mechanisms that are in place and restore some stability to that region. Of course, it is a great concern.