Q-n about the event
Ambassador Kelly Degnan: This is a very important event today and a huge success for Georgia in its efforts to eliminate Hepatitis C. The United States, through our Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is very, very proud to have partnered with Georgia’s NCDC and the Ministry of Health over the past few years in this effort to eliminate a deadly disease that 150,000 Georgians were suffering from. The cure rate has been 98% in those Georgians who have been treated through this program. It’s a tremendous success and Georgia has become a role model for the world in implementing this kind of Hepatitis C elimination program. So, a wonderful example of the strong partnership between the United States and Georgia in the public health sector. Thank you.
Q-n about the detention of a Georgian citizen near the ABL, and the Embassy’s partnership with the Ministry of Health after the new Minister arrives
Ambassador Kelly Degnan: We are always very, very concerned when we hear about Georgian citizens being detained or harassed along the ABL. This is unacceptable and it’s a kind of pressure and harassment that simply has to stop. It needs to stop and will stop as soon as Russia complies with its obligations under the 2008 agreement to withdraw its forces. It is a very simple step that Russia needs to take. And that is what everyone is waiting to see in terms of ending this kind of harassment, continued harassment of Georgian citizens, and promoting any kind of better atmosphere for discussions. So, let us hope that we will soon see Russia fulfill its obligations that it undertook in 2008.
On your second question, that’s really not a matter for the United States, the government of Georgia will proceed on that, and we will work well with whoever is the Minister of Health, as we have with the current Minister of Health, on many different initiatives.