Question about the event
Ambassador Degnan: I’m very pleased to be here for the opening of the expanded Pace Terminal here at Poti Seaport. This is a huge success story for Georgia, as well as for the cooperation between the United States and Georgia. The United States has supported this project through a $50 million loan through the International Development Finance Corporation, and so we’re very pleased to see the project now opening. Pace group has both Georgian and American shareholders, so this is really a success for both Georgia and America. The expanded port doubles the cargo capacity for this location, and that is a big opportunity for Georgia to realize its goal of becoming an East-West hub, bringing goods from Central Asia all the way to Europe, through Georgia and ports like Poti. So again, the United States is very pleased to be a part of this. This is one example of many projects that the Development Finance Corporation has supported here in Georgia over the last 20 years, and we are very pleased to see this expansion that will result in good jobs for the people of San Murillo, and we hope even more opportunities for this port to expand further.
Question about the resolution in support of Ukraine
Ambassador Degnan: This is an important moment for all of our countries, and it’s a time when we are standing united to send clear messages to Russia that we will defend European security principles that have kept Europe stable and prosperous for over 30 years. I think the messages from Georgia, from Ukraine, from the NATO allies, from the United States have been quite clear in saying that we will stand together and we will resist the crisis that Russia is trying to create here. This is truly a crisis Russia created and an effort to overturn 30 years of stability and prosperity through the threat of force. On your second question on the resolution: I haven’t seen the draft, but I think it’s very positive that the opposition parties and the ruling party have been negotiating the text that everybody can get behind because this needs to be a strong resolution that sends a clear message of George’s support for European security principles and for Ukraine at a very tense moment. I am sure that the outcome will be something that Georgians can be proud of.
Question about President’s reconciliation initiative
Ambassador Degnan: Georgians have seen over the last few years how paralyzing the deep polarization is for this country. So, many things have not been able to go forward, despite the challenges that the country faces like COVID and the economic recovery. So I think any initiative that is designed to reduce the polarization and bring the society together and heal this society is very positive. And my understanding is that this is what President Zourabichvili is really is trying to do with her initiative. So, I hope that she will have the cooperation and the input from different sectors of society in a whole scale effort to reduce the polarization that this country faces.