Question about the event
Ambassador Degnan: We are here for the opening of the first Carter’s store in Georgia, and we’re really thrilled that this major United States real retail company—that has over 150 years in the United States—is coming to the Georgian market for the first time. This is a brand that many parents know well. They are among the very top sellers of children’s sleepwear and other apparel. Now Georgians can bring their children to the Carter’s Store here and choose their clothes and their accessories firsthand. The United States supports U.S. companies as often as we can to come to Georgia’s market because we know that this is a growing market and a growing opportunity for Georgian and American companies. We also like to help support Georgia’s retail development because we know that tourists choose often to come to Tbilisi because they have good retail opportunities. Carter’s is just the latest one. So, we’re thrilled to be here for today’s opening of the first Carter’s store in Georgia.
Question about the NATO Parliamentary Assembly
Ambassador Degnan: The United States is Georgia’s strongest supporter in NATO, and we work very closely with the Ministry of Defense, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the whole Georgian government to increase Georgia’s capability and interoperability with NATO. This is something that we, the United States, have been doing with Georgia for many years, and obviously, there’s more to be done. Georgia itself keeps track of that in the Annual National Program that the Georgian government prepares in consultation with NATO every year. Of course, there’s more to be done and the United States is always looking for ways to partner with the Georgian Defense Forces and the Ministry of Defense to increase Georgia’s capabilities and its interoperability with NATO. The exercises that Georgia holds with NATO, with the United States, and other Allies are an important part of that. Through those exercises, we all see where we can do more to improve our ability to respond together to protect Georgia’s territorial integrity and security and to increase the ability of Georgia’s Defense Forces to defend Georgia’s borders. So, I think this is very important that there’s an opportunity for Georgian leaders to be talking with NATO Allies and NATO leadership, looking for the ways that we can all help Georgia move forward on its NATO path to membership. This requires work from the Georgian government, and it requires continued support from the United States and other NATO Allies, all of whom want to see Georgia move forward on its NATO path toward that secure future that Georgians want and deserve.
Question on a UN resolution on Iran
Ambassador Degnan: I’m not familiar with the details of the UN resolution on Iran, so I’ll have to study that before I can comment on it. On Mr. Saakashvili, we continue to follow his health and welfare closely. We are in regular contact with the Public Defender’s Office, including checking on his health and wellbeing, and we will continue to monitor that as well to ensure that he receives the due process that he deserves as guaranteed in Georgia’s constitution.