Question about ruling party comment that organizers of this conference were “enemies of Georgia”
Ambassador Degnan: The United States is a strong supporter of inclusive dialogue. That is something that we think is absolutely essential. This conference has been organized here in Tbilisi since 2014 in the spirit of information sharing, inclusive dialogue, and the exchange of views. It’s always been a very popular and very effective forum for bringing together Georgia’s domestic and international friends from all over Europe, America, Japan, and elsewhere in Asia. So again, this is a real opportunity to share views – dissenting views and views in common – to get a better understanding of peoples’ perspectives. That is what we’re seeing this time as well with the focus on Ukraine, and Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, and what that means for this whole region. It’s also an opportunity to exchange ideas of how to bring peace and continue the good work that’s been going on to improve the stability of the region and the prosperity of Georgia, as well as its democratic development.
Question on Ukraine’s demand to sanction Bidzina Ivanishvili and others in Georgia
Ambassador Degnan: We were not involved in the developing these [calls for] sanctions that were recently announced, so, I don’t have any information on that. I can say that sanctions are a very important tool, and they can be very effective, as we are seeing in Russia; and as we will continue to see in Russia over the coming months as the sanctions that the world has imposed against Russia continue to take effect. The United States doesn’t preview our sanctions policies. We don’t announce them until they are imposed, and that’s all I have to say.
Question on the 12 recommendations from the European Commission
Ambassador Degnan: The 12 recommendations really do need to be the focus of Georgia’s leaders and really all Georgians right now. This is an important opportunity for the country. It’s a very normal process to have different views about how to address the 12 recommendations, and it would send a very strong signal to the European Union were Georgia to integrate the different views that are being put forth. Good work is being done on how to respond to the 12 recommendations. The task now is to bring those together into an integrated document that reflects the diversity of the views here in Georgia. The European Union wants to see that unity of voice brought together: many voices unified into one strong response on the 12 recommendations. I do hope that that is what Georgia is going to be prepared to submit.