Assistant Secretary of State Emphasizes U.S. Support for Georgia’s Security, Reforms, and Euro-Atlantic Integration (February 17)

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From February 17 to 18, Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland led a joint civilian-military delegation to Tbilisi, Georgia to meet with senior Georgian government officials, opposition political figures, and civil society representatives to discuss a broad range of bilateral and regional issues.  Speaking with media on February 17, Assistant Secretary Nuland stated that the purpose of the visit was to demonstrate America’s unwavering support for Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, its democratic course, and its Euro-Atlantic aspirations.  She described her meetings with Georgia’s Prime Minister, President, and political opposition leaders as “very good,” stating that in each meeting they discussed the strong bilateral security relationship between the United States and Georgia.  Assistant Secretary Nuland thanked Georgia for being the second largest contributor after the United States to the Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan, and said the United States would play a significant role in implementing NATO’s Substantial Package in Georgia in 2015.

In her meetings with senior government officials and leaders of opposition political parties, Assistant Secretary Nuland also discussed reforms to strengthen Georgia’s investment climate.  On this critical issue, Nuland said that “This is the area where the government and the opposition ought be able to come together to support strong growth here — to take maximum advantage of the great opportunity that Georgia has been given through its Association with Europe, through the DCFTA (Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area).  And we want to support that.”

On the impartial administration of the rule of law and looking to the future, Assistant Secretary Nuland stated that “The rule of law climate is absolutely essential to continue to strengthen Georgia’s democracy, strengthen the climate for investment, and keep Georgia on a positive trajectory.”  She added that “We are encouraged by the decision of the government to pursue reform of the public prosecutor’s office, to pursue reform in the Ministry of Internal Affairs.  Obviously, due process is absolutely essential.  Once again we encouraged the Government of Georgia to look to the future, look to institutional structural reforms, and ensure that there is full transparency and due process in any of the cases that are moving through the courts now.”

Assistant Secretary Nuland concluded her remarks to the press by emphasizing that Georgia’s democracy is its greatest protection against outside interference and its best guarantee that economic reforms will succeed.  She underscored U.S. support to Georgia, saying, “We are here to be your partner, we are proud to be your partner, and we have a lot of work to do together.”