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Ambassador Degnan’s Remarks to Media at AMCHAM Skills Building Event
May 11, 2022

Question about the event 

Ambassador Degnan:  For 30 years, the United States has been working with Georgia to help develop the economy, and the partnership that we’re forging today with the American Chamber of Commerce and the key hospitality industries here is an important part of that.  This is designed to help Georgia’s tourism and hospitality sector recover from the pandemic, create more jobs, and better jobs; and raise the standard of tourism services offered here to attract an even higher type of tourist.  Georgia has so much to offer in the tourism industry, and the United States is very proud to be part of helping to build that sector.

Question about former President Saakashvili’s health 
Ambassador Degnan:  We’re talking about a human being’s health condition. What is most important is that Mr. Saakashvili receives the medical care that he needs. That should be the focus, moving him to the private clinic, where he can get medical attention: at least an assessment of his condition is very important and a very positive step. The next step is for there to be an impartial assessment by qualified medical professionals, that everyone can have confidence in so that the next course of action can be established and determined.  But fundamentally, we’re talking about the health of a human being and making sure that Mr. Saakashvili – or anyone in his situation – receives the care that they need should be paramount.

Question about Bidzina Ivanishvili’s case with Credit Suisse Bank 

Ambassador Degnan:  For questions regarding Credit Suisse, I think it’s better that you ask Credit Suisse.  As you said, it’s a private bank, and I don’t have information about what’s going on inside Credit Suisse. I found that comment very confusing and I think comments that have no basis in fact, that are said in a way that creates confusion in the public are very unhelpful. It’s the kind of disinformation that I think just ends up creating confusion and ultimately dividing people.  This is a time when Georgia needs to be coming together, not dividing. This is a time for unity. So, I really was confused by what that comment was about, and I’m not in a position to clarify for you. I’m sorry.

Question on the Rustavi court case

Ambassador Degnan:  I didn’t hear a verdict today, so I don’t want to address hypothetical situations, but we have said many times that it’s important that legal cases like this avoid even the appearance of a conflict of interest or political interference. That is just fundamental to the public having confidence in whatever the verdict is. I’ll leave it at that. Thank you very much.