Ambassador Kelly’s comment to media at the Wreath Laying Ceremony at the Tbilisi Hero’s Square Memorial (September 27)
Q-n about importance of the date “September 27” for Georgia
Ambassador Kelly: I think it is very important to stay focused on the future. Our programs of cooperation obviously are very much focused on future partnership with Georgia. But, it is also, at the same time, important to reflect on the sacrifices that Georgians have made, Americans have made, in the past to defend freedom. That is why it is important to commemorate days such as this.
Q-n about the possible ways to resolve the conflict with Abkhazia
Ambassador Kelly: I think the Georgian Government has the right approach in terms of trying to reach out to the Abkhaz, trying to reintegrate and reconcile with Abkhazia. We are very supportive of their program to try and increase contacts in trade, open up their educational system and health care system. And it is an approach that we very much support. And, of course, there are the Geneva International Discussions that we participate in.
Q-n about the Parliament adopting the constructional amendments yesterday (September 26), it was a “one party adoption” without reaching consensus, that might trigger questions about its legitimacy. Your thoughts please?
Ambassador Kelly: I don’t think it is my place to comment on the sovereign decision by Georgian elected representatives. I think, really, all I can do is share what the American approach is to these issues. We take a very deliberative approach to changing our constitution. It normally takes years—even decades—to make any changes to our constitution, and we are following this process obviously very closely. We would hope that any changes to the constitution would be very broad-based with buy-in form many stakeholders. But, I will reserve comment on the actual changes that were made yesterday.
Follow-up q-n: Do you think that the process of the adoption was too fast? Do you think it should have been more deliberative?
Ambassador Kelly: Like I said, I am not going to comment on how it was accomplished here. I just wanted to point out that our experience is different; normally it takes years to change the constitution.