David Zalkaniani met with Thomas Melia
The Georgian Foreign Ministry hosted a meeting of the People-to-People and Cultural Exchange Working Group of the U.S.-Georgia Strategic Partnership Commission, which considers the issues relating to co-operation in the areas of public relations, education, sport, cultural exchanges, internally displaced persons and healthcare.
Following the meeting, First Deputy Foreign Minister David Zalkaliani and USAID Assistant Administrator for Europe and Eurasia Thomas Melia made comments on the results of the meeting. The First Deputy Foreign Minister paid special attention to the implementation of the agreements which were signed within the framework of U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s visit to Georgia
“On 6 July 2016, Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Kvrikashvili and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry signed the Georgia-US Memorandum on Deeper Defense and Security Cooperation and the Memorandum designed to boost Georgia-US cooperation in the field of education.
We also launched Growth, a new USAID project, which seeks to promote economic growth in Georgia's regions, especially those along the occupation line. Cooperation is also very productive in the area of Health. Special mention, in this context, should be made of the highly successful C Hepatitis Elimination Program” – David Zalkaliani said.
According to the First Deputy Foreign Minister, such successful cooperation will further continue. The sides also spoke about the challenges faced by the two countries and the ways to resolve them. Special attention was paid to the issue of strategic communications and to the possible ways of improving coordination in the strategic communications process, including by the U.S. support.
USAID Assistant Administrator for Europe and Eurasia Thomas Melia highlighted the successful U.S.-Georgia co-operation within the framework of the Working Group. According to him, a clear proof of this success is an increase in U.S. foreign assistance for Georgia.
“The main focus of discussions was the way the partnership between the U.S. and Georgia is benefiting the Georgian people in the areas of health and education. We discussed many aspects of education and training for Georgians and this will continue to be a large part of our co-operation. We also talked about the way our programmes can broaden the linkages between the Georgian citizens living in the territory of South Ossetia and Abkhazia and about the various ways we can bridge the communication gap. The final thing I want to talk about is that the U.S. assistance budget for Georgia increased last year and is increasing this year. And we will continue to invest in this partnership with the Georgian Government to further demonstrate to the Georgian people that their better future lies in the stronger co-operation with the United States” - Thomas Melia said.
The Strategic Partnership Commission is the primary mechanism for organizing and prioritizing the broad and deepening cooperation between the United States and Georgia. The Commission includes four bilateral working groups on priority areas identified in the Charter on Strategic Partnership: democracy and governance; defense and security; economics, trade, and energy; and people-to-people and cultural exchanges.