Ambassador Degnan’s Remarks to Media at Tbilisi International Forum

Question about the event

Ambassador Degnan:  We are very pleased to be able to co-sponsor this very important Tbilisi Forum for Regional Security in Black Sea, which is focusing this year on nuclear and radiological threats in the Black Sea region, which, given what we’re hearing from Russia in terms of threats, is particularly important and very timely. This brings together government agencies, and other stakeholders to discuss these very important issues and be prepared to respond in the event of a CBRN event.

This is an event that we co-sponsor with the Swedish Radiation Agency and the NGO for Civil Defense. So, this is a very important opportunity, the fourth annual conference, bringing together people from all over the world to focus on this very important issue in the Black Sea region.

Question on the European Parliament’s resolution

Ambassador Degnan: I don’t have a comment on the European Parliament resolution. The United States is not involved in deliberations of the European Parliament or European parties, so I don’t have a comment on that. Media freedom is an area that the United States Embassy has supported for 30 years—for our entire period of diplomatic relations here in Georgia—because it’s so central to a healthy democracy. It’s something that is enshrined in Georgia’s constitution and in the U.S. constitution.  Anything that weakens that or undermines that obviously is weakening the foundation of our democracies. That’s why we consider media freedom so very important and central to a healthy democracy.

Question about Secretary Blinken’s meeting with the Foreign Ministers of Armenia and Azerbaijan

Ambassador Degnan:  Anytime the leaders of Azerbaijan and Armenia are able to sit down together, it is an important opportunity to exchange views and to understand each other’s priorities, so we are very pleased that the Foreign Ministers met with Secretary Blinken in Washington yesterday.  Again, these are important steps toward the resolution of the differences between these two countries.   This is important for the stability of the South Caucasus and the whole region, and at this time, coming together and unifying is more important than ever.