Ambassador Degnan’s Remarks to Media at Emory University Event
Question about the event
Ambassador Degnan: Today’s event is another excellent example of the strong cooperation between the United States and Georgia on issues that are of the greatest importance to the people of Georgia, health, and education. Today we’re here with a delegation from Emory University, based in Atlanta, Georgia, who are here for a workshop on health and education with our partners in the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Health. Emory University is one of the longest partnerships between Georgia and the United States, going back to the nineties when Emory and the Embassy were helping Georgia establish its hospital system after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Since then, for over 30 years, Emory University has been a strong partner in helping develop university capacity, research capacity, and developing hospital systems and clinics; but mostly in areas of public health to ensure that the people of Georgia have the highest standards of medical care possible. That’s what today’s workshop is about, and we are really thrilled to have our colleagues from Emory University back in Georgia.
Question on the “foreign agents” law
Ambassador Degnan: We have not given up on our efforts, and we urge the government not to proceed with this legislation. The United States, the UN, the EU, the Council of Europe, and many friends of Georgia have all expressed deep concerns about this legislation that will likely stigmatize civil society, that will likely silence independent media and dissenting voices, just as similar legislation has done in Russia and other countries like Russia. So, we are urging the Parliament to reconsider this legislation. It is not necessary. There is ample transparency regarding how foreign assistance is used here. This legislation truly will have the devastating impact of stopping Georgian organizations and groups who are doing good work to help other Georgians in need throughout this country. This legislation is not needed, and we urge the Parliament to please reconsider, and withdraw this legislation. It is not necessary, and it is not in Georgia’s best interest.