Deputy Assistant Secretary Bridget Brink’s Media Engagement following the Meetings with Speaker Kobakhidze and Opposition Parties (September 11)

Deputy Assistant Secretary Bridget Brink's Media Engagement following the Meetings with Speaker Kobakhidze and Opposition Parties. Photo: State Dept

Deputy Assistant Secretary Bridget Brink’s Media Engagement following the Meetings with Speaker Kobakhidze and Opposition Parties (September 11)

Q-n about the content of the meetings 

DAS Brink:  First of all I would like to thank the Speaker of Parliament for receiving me this evening.  For the last couple of days I have had a really great set of meetings with members of government including the Prime Minister, Parliament, opposition, and NGOs.  The primary purpose was to exchange views on shared interests, and also to follow up on the Vice President’s visit at the end of July.

Q-n whether the opposition raised concerns about upcoming elections and DAS Brink’s recommendations 

DAS Brink:  Understanding that Georgia is having local elections coming up, my advice to government leaders and also to the opposition is to underscore the importance of avoiding violence, of being public about the importance of avoiding violence.  As I know the Prime Minister and others did during the last elections, to watch out for the use of administrative resources and to do everything possible to ensure that people are able to vote in the way of their conscience.  Also when there are complaints or incidents, which naturally do happen in any election, that those are addressed  quickly and transparently.

Q-n about Mikheil Saakashvili’s recent actions—crossing the border between Poland and  Ukraine;  plus the Georgian Government request for his extradition 

DAS Brink:  With regard to former President Saakashvili and Ukraine, I know there are legal processes that are ongoing and we are following those closely.   And with regard to the Georgian Government’s request for extradition, that is a question for the Ukrainian and the Georgian Governments.