On June 17, the U.S. Ambassador Ian Kelly and representatives of the Partnership Fund, Georgian government, and Schulze Global Investments participated in the signing ceremony between the U.S. investment fund Schulze Global Investments and Georgia’s Partnership Fund. The ceremony celebrated the Partnership Fund’s $5 million investment in Schulze’s Caucasus Clean Energy Fund (CCEF).
Question on significance of the signing ceremony
Ambassador Kelly: It is really an honor for me to participate in this ceremony. The United States Embassy really supports this project. We are very pleased to see the Partnership Fund contribute five million dollars into this project, which is important for economic reasons. We want to see Georgian economic development – this [the launch of Schulze’s $100 million Caucasus Clean Energy Fund in Georgia] will help in that regard. But I think it is also important for environmental reasons, too, because we are talking about hydro-electric energy which is a renewable source of energy. So this is a win-win for everybody.
Question on NDI’s assessment of Georgia’s pre-election atmosphere and challenges
Ambassador Kelly: I haven’t seen the NDI statement; I haven’t had a chance to look at it [yet]. But I would just say in general I think the National Democratic Institute has the same interests that we [the United States] have – and that is we want to see elections that are seen as fully reflective of the will of the Georgian people. And in order for that to take place of course there has to be a free and fair pre-electoral environment. We have expressed our concern about some of the incidents of violence, of course, that happened near Zugdidi. And of course we have also talked about some of the problems with media pluralism here, with Rustavi 2. But in general I think these are areas that we share common interests – “we” meaning the international community and Georgia. I think it is entirely appropriate to point out where there might be problems in the next four or five months.
Follow-up question on Rustavi 2’s case and legal proceedings in the Constitutional Court
Ambassador Kelly: I am not going to comment on the appeal process, it wouldn’t be appropriate for me to do that. I would just like to underline and reiterate the importance of all the political parties [in Georgia] to have access to the media, and of course Rustavi 2 is an important media outlet for the opposition here. Again we just don’t want to see any damage done to the pre-electoral environment, and changing the ownership or the management of the leading opposition television station would be damaging to the pre-electoral environment.