CODEL Roskam engagement with media at KTA (February 26)

CODEL Roskam engagement with media at KTA (February 26)

Congressman Roskam: I am a representative from the state of Illinois, and we are part of the House Democracy Partnership.  We are a bipartisan commission of the United States House of Representatives, and I am joined by my colleagues – David Price from North Carolina, Adrian Smith from Nebraska, and Gerry Connolly from Virginia.  Together, we represent the longstanding, close relationship between the Republic of Georgia and the United States of America.  We are here today and these past several days to communicate how deep and lasting this relationship is and the great deal of admiration that we have for Georgia and its decisions in terms of its own territorial integrity and the decisions of the people of Georgia to cast their vision forward towards a western-style democracy.  We are here to celebrate that and to communicate that we are partners with the people of Georgia in that great undertaking, particularly, in this region of the world with rising voices of authoritarianism that are putting pressure on other regional partners.  This visit today is also to learn more deeply about the nature of the close ties between the Georgian military and the United States military, to also show our respect and commitment for Georgia’s decision to do everything it can within the larger scheme of things as it relates to NATO and so forth, to do everything it can in its own defense.  And so, we are here also to acknowledge and to thank Georgia for its deep commitment to the mission in Afghanistan and to acknowledge the deep loses that Georgia has suffered, and not withstanding those deep loses, to stand close by the United States and our allies in this great conflict.  I would like to introduce my colleague, Congressman David Price from North Carolina.

Congressman David Price:  Thank you.  We are very, very happy to be here.  It is the sixth visit of the House Democracy Partnership to Georgia over the years.  Over a ten-year partnership we’ve worked with the parliament of Georgia, with staff members coming to the States and our visits here to build up a friendship, but also to make our legislatures more effective, because you know that is absolutely essential to democracy, to have parliaments that wok well.  We are very happy to be here this morning, as our chairman said, to show our gratitude to the people of Georgia for standing alongside us in Afghanistan all these years, 31 fatalities, we are very well aware of that, and the hundreds of troops that have been deployed alongside ours in Afghanistan.  We are here in support of this training mission, this support mission for the Georgian military who are training, equipping, strengthening the capacity.  It is important of course to Georgia but also important to this region and of course to our country as well.  So, we are grateful for this partnership, we are here to reaffirm it, to announce and confirm our commitment to this solid relationship with Georgia and our admiration for the strides this country has made and the friendship we have developed.