Ambassador Kelly visits USAID Project Site in Marneuli (July 24)
Question: As I know, you just had a meeting with the women leaders of this municipality. And, as you know, the early marriage issue is very problematic here. Is the Embassy planning any kind of activities or a project in order to provide the equal access to education for everybody?
AMB: Well, I did have a very good conversation with some of the women civil society leaders here to talk about this issue.
[Wind blocks out speech]
… From my perspective, the most important thing is to ensure that girls have the same opportunities as boys, that they have a chance to succeed, not only in family life but also in whatever vocation they choose. So, I think, you know, from the United States’ perspective, it’s all about opportunities. It’s not for us to dictate what the legislation should be, except that it’s in every country’s interest that girls have the same opportunities that boys have.
Question: As you remember, the previous election in Marneuli was quite problematic. Just from your perspective, how would you assess the ongoing situation?
AMB: Well, I think – we did discuss this with Gamgebeli and the Chairman of the Sakrebulo, and they assured me that the … I think the most important message that leaders should send, both in Marneuli and in Tbilisi, is the complete unacceptability of violence at any time, but particularly at a time when the Georgian people are choosing their leaders. And we, of course, when we talked to party leaders, we sent the same message. But I think that’s the most important thing, is not to allow violence to erupt, and make sure that those who want to provoke violence and cause violence, that they are isolated and not allowed to cause those kinds of disruptions on Election Day.
Question: About this particular project, how you like this, and just your views, and …
AMB: Well, you know, I come from the Midwest, which is the breadbasket of the United States, and I have seen with my own eyes how farmers have increased their yields tremendously using the kind of technology that I see here, and using the best techniques. So I am very proud that the United States taxpayer is helping Georgian farmers make their farms more productive, which will make, I think, Georgia a more resilient country. This is really the best kind of partnership between the United States and Georgia.