Ambassador Kelly’s comments to the media on the sidelines of USAID’s Tuberculosis Prevention Project Close-out in Tbilisi (June 7)

Question on the hesitation of France and Germany to grant Georgia visa liberalization

Ambassador Kelly: The U.S. position is very clear.  We support Georgia’s efforts to integrate with the European Union.  We don’t just support this by words, we also support it with deeds.  Much of our USAID [assistance] program is designed to help Georgia harmonize its legislation and be ready to integrate with Europe.  Of course we are not members of the European Union, so we don’t really have a vote in this.  But we made our position quite clear in Brussels and in other European capitals:  that we [the United States] are very supportive of Georgia’s aspirations for visa liberalization.

Follow-up question on the reason of Europe’s delay to grant Georgia visa liberalization

Ambassador Kelly:  I think you should probably ask some of my European colleagues what the reason is for the delay.  Again, we [the United States] are just very supportive and we have made our views crystal clear – we are very supportive and we are using all diplomatic efforts to support Georgia.

Question on developments in Rustavi 2 court case and the importance of the independence of the court presiding over the case

Ambassador Kelly:  I think I have said a lot of things already about Rustavi 2.  I think my position and the position of my government is clear:  this is all about media pluralism – the importance of all voices being heard.  In Georgian music there is polyphony, I think in the media there also has to be a polyphony [pluralism].  We will always support pluralism in the media scene here.  Georgia should be very proud that there are many voices in the media environment here.  You can’t say that about every country in this region.  So we want to just be able to say that we are very supportive of the right of all political parties to have access to the media.  And of course it is also very important that there not be political interference in a court process.