Ambassador Kelly joined a panel of Georgian and international experts at the NATO-Georgia Public Diplomacy Forum on April 5 in Tbilisi. The theme of the forum, which kicked off NATO Week activities in Georgia this year, was dedicated to the importance of strategic communications in combatting disinformation and propaganda in the region. Ambassador Kelly spoke about America’s firm support for Georgia’s NATO aspirations, its sovereignty, and territorial integrity. He also emphasized the importance of well-planned and well-coordinated strategic communications for Georgia as it pursues integration with NATO and other Euro-Atlantic structures. Ambassador Kelly also highlighted the importance of strategic communications in accurately presenting to Georgian citizens the benefits of Euro-Atlantic integration, and to be vigilant to disinformation that seeks to sow confusion in Georgian society about the West and Georgia’s Euro-Atlantic integration processes.
Ambassador Kelly’s comments to journalists at the event
Q-n about Georgia’s prospects at Warsaw Summit
Ambassador: I think as you know the United States firmly supports Georgia’s aspirations to join NATO. I think that this is backed up by the training and security assistance that we are providing to Georgia, to make sure that Georgia is ready to go into NATO when NATO is ready to welcome Georgia. We have said already, NATO has said already, that Georgia has all the tools it needs to enter NATO. So, we would expect that NATO Warsaw Summit will recommit to helping Georgia and reaffirm Georgia’s Euro-Atlantic path.
Q-n : The United States is in the election period — how active can it be at this moment (in supporting Georgia)?
Ambassador: I think, despite some of the more — how shall I say it — entertaining statements that we have seen from some of the candidates, there is real bipartisan support for the role of NATO in the world, for the importance of multilateralism in the world. And I think the Obama administration is very committed to the importance of NATO. The fact that (the NATO) Secretary General met at the White House with President Obama is a tribute to that fact.
Q-n about the situation in NK
Ambassador: We are very concerned about the situation in Nagorno-Karabakh. I have been in daily contact with Georgian officials. I’ve spoken to the Minister of Foreign Affairs every day really, in the last few days. I’ve spoken as well to the Minister of Defense and we are of one mind that the important thing here is to de-escalate the situation, to put this firmly into a path of negotiations. The co-chairs — American, French and Russian — of the Minsk Group are meeting today in Vienna at the OSCE. We hope this will help put this back in the proper diplomatic and political track that it should be in. The military approach is not the way to solve this. And I hope that all sides will recognize that in Vienna.