Ambassador Kelly’s Remarks to Media after Meeting with the Speaker of Parliament (November 27)
Q-n about the purpose of the meeting
Ambassador Kelly: We requested this meeting. We were very interested to hear about plans for a fourth wave of the judicial reform, and the reason we are interested in it is, of course, that we want to be helpful; we want to target our assistance, our technical assistance through USAID in particular, but also through the Department of Justice to ensure that it is effective. We talked a bit about the plans to make further amendments to the constitution, about the elections, and we also [inaudible]. I was quite impressed by how busy parliament is going to be in the next weeks or so, there is just a lot with the agenda, including government structuring and other issues. On the ombudsman issue, you know, again we really want Georgia to succeed as a fully transparent and accountable democracy and this position of the public defender is absolutely critical to that. And, in order for the public defender to be effective, the public defender has to be completely independent and also have a lot of integrity. I was very pleased to hear that there has been a lot of consultations with civil society and that support seems to be coalescing around one of the candidates that civil society has put forward. We are encouraged by the recent government and we look forward to seeing a new public defender named this week.
Q-n whether the U.S. is providing assistance to the special operations investigation
Ambassador Kelly: Well, I will let the government tell you what the role is of any American assistance. We did offer some assistance, some technical assistance, and we are already providing it. And, clearly, this is an issue that affects all of us, this issue of international terrorism, and Georgia is our partner and, of course, we are ready to provide any kind of assistance.
Q-n what are the challenges fighting international terrorism?
Ambassador Kelly: I think the biggest challenge is information. It is very important that we share information, that we cooperate in uncovering some of these operations, that we prevent, obviously, some of the absolutely horrific terrorist acts like you saw in Egypt. So,this is a really critical issue that we work together and I am very pleased that the cooperation in the security realm between the United States and Georgia is very productive.
Q-n how could Ahmed Chataev, a person on the international terrorist list, crossed the Georgian border?
Ambassador Kelly: That is a good question. Yes, we have a lot of questions obviously, and I think the Georgian government has a lot of questions, too. First of all, we have to have it confirmed hundred percent that this was Ahmed Chataev, but yes, we will have a lot of questions and we will be ready to help, too, in uncovering some of the background for this.
Q-n Did American special forces help Georgian special forces on the day of special operation?
Ambassador Kelly: I don’t have any information about that. That is, I don’t know. We live here, too, so we wanted to find out about what was happening, so we did ask a lot of questions and we were informed, but I don’t know about any [inaudible]. This was a Georgian operation.
Q-n is the U.S. involved in the investigation?
Ambassador Kelly: Yes, and again, I will let the Georgian government characterize what our assistance is.
Q-n is this experts or some other forces?
Ambassador Kelly: Experts.
Q-n: FBI experts?
Ambassador Kelly: Yes, FBI experts. But, again, the Georgian government can tell you what the assistance is.