Ambassador Kelly Degnan’s Remarks to Media Prior to Speaker Talakvadze’s Annual Report Presentation

Question about the event

Ambassador Kelly Degnan: Gamarjoba, happy to be here at the start of a new year. I think we all know that this is going to be a challenging year for all of our countries. We are looking forward to continuing our close cooperation with Georgia – the government, civil society, the media – all those who are working hard to help Georgia get through what is likely to be a very challenging year. Thank you.

Question on whether the negotiations (between GD and opposition) will continue

Ambassador Kelly Degnan: I think the vote yesterday was an opportunity that will allow the parties a little bit more time to bridge their differences if they can. I think the resolution is possible if the parties put Georgia’s interests first. Georgian people have said in number of polls, what they care about, what they’re worried about are jobs, high prices, poverty. They also said, over 75% of Georgians polled in that recent NDI poll, said they want their members of parliament to work together, and to work together in parliament on these issues. So, I hope that the parties will keep that in mind as they discuss the various options for overcoming their differences.

Question: Do you think there is a way of reaching the agreement? 

Ambassador Kelly Degnan: Again, I think, if the parties’ leaders put the country’s interest first: if they listen to what their voters are telling them is important to them, which are jobs, and high prices, and poverty, and economic impact of COVID, I think that the urgency of those issues will encourage the parties to reach a compromise, find a solution, get into parliament, and start working.

Question: When will the next negotiations take place?

Ambassador Kelly Degnan: That’s very much up to the party leaders. We are just here to provide a neutral forum for them to come together and discuss what the possibilities are.

Question: Do you have separate meetings with opposition parties?

Ambassador Kelly Degnan: We are open and available to all the party leaders, as well as to civil society, other stakeholders who want to see this situation resolved quickly and soon, because there are serious issues facing all of our countries as a result of COVID.

Question: One of the MP’s publicly announced Nika Gvaramia’s (Mtavari Arkhi’s Director General) personal phone number without his permission. What would be your comment?

Ambassador Kelly Degnan: That’s not my role. I am sure that the appropriate authorities would weigh in on that question better than I can.