Irakli Garibashvili: This visit by American command ships is yet another clear demonstration of the strong strategic relations between Georgia and the US
I welcome our strategic allies and partners visiting Batumi Port, and I welcome American command ships, their crews and personnel, Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili stated today in Batumi, aboard USS Mount Whitney.
According to the Head of Government, this port visit by American command ships is yet another clear demonstration of the strong strategic relations between Georgia and the US.
"Georgia is very important country in the Black Sea region. Our geographic location has a profound significance. Georgia is a loyal ally and participant of global security. We understand well the importance of Black Sea security, and we are committed to assisting our allies in this direction. We share the responsibility of cementing regional peace and stability, and we will continue doing everything to that end. Army command compatibility, partnership-oriented drills, and the unity of our forces in times of crisis offer the best way to ensure security in the region. I am happy to see that our friends, during their stay in Batumi, will have an opportunity to familiarize themselves with our country's rich history, culture, and traditions. Along with our guests, I would like to express enormous gratitude to the US Government and the American people, each American, who have stood by Georgia since the regaining of independence. On behalf of our Government and the Georgian people, I once again thank you visiting, and I wish you a successful stay," the Prime Minister addressed the crews and personnel of the American ships.
The guests aboard the USS were also addressed by US Ambassador to Georgia Kelly Degnan and Commander of the Sixth Fleet/Vice Admiral Gene Black.
"It is an honor to welcome to Georgia USS Mount Whitney and Arleigh Burke-class destroyer Porter. Many representatives of the crews and personnel of these ships are visiting this beautiful country for the first time, though the ships themselves have been here many times before. We are very proud of their return today. In September of 2008, after Russia's invasion of Georgia, Mount Whitney delivered 17 tons of much-needed humanitarian aid from the USAID, marking the first visit of the ship to the Black Sea water area, and look at Georgia's immense progress since! The history of these glorious ships, and the capabilities and achievements of their crews, are truly impressive. This visit reaffirms that the United States and Georgia, as partners, are committed to the idea of security and defense. Less than a month has passed since the recent visit by the US Defense Secretary, who reminisced about his time together with Georgian troops on battlefield and expressed gratitude to them. Alongside troops from the North Atlantic Alliance's member states and allies, more than 22,000 Georgians have participated in trainings and battles. The crews and personnel of these ships enable the US to carry out integrated aerial, land, and maritime operations with military and humanitarian missions, whenever we are called and whenever we are needed in the world. Your being here also reaffirms the unwavering commitment of the United States to Georgia's sovereignty and territorial integrity. Thank you, Mister Prime Minister, Mister Vice Prime Minister, Mister Defense Minister, Mister Chief of Defense Forces, and heads of the border guard and maritime patrol services, for facilitating this visit-and, more importantly, for your strong support of our security and defense partnership," Ambassador Degnan said.
Vice Admiral Gene Black thanked Georgia and Batumi for hosting the US ships and crews.
"Georgia's support makes a direct contribution to maritime security in the Black Sea Region. Our host city has embraced our crews and personnel with genuine warmth and hospitality. I deeply appreciate that. I am also grateful to Georgia's Defense Forces and the Georgian people for supporting US- and NATO-led missions. Georgia is our strategic partner, and our support for the country remains unwavering. The United States remain committed to maintaining close bilateral relations and assisting Georgia in developing its defense capabilities. Your contribution to our joint security effort testifies to the strength of our strategic partnership and to the common maritime interests and values we share. US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, during his visit to Georgia last months, stated that ‘Georgia has consistently and resolutely supported the United States in ensuring peace and stability in this region. I am happy to have this opportunity to reaffirm our strong support for Georgia's sovereignty and territorial integrity.' The United States Navy-together with the member states and allies of the North Atlantic Alliance, including Georgia-is bolstering maritime security and stability in the Black Sea Region. No single country can deal with all threats on its own, the reason why I, on behalf of the United States of America and the North Atlantic Alliance and the Sixth Fleet, I thank Georgia for this opportunity further strengthening our relations," Vice Admiral Gene Black stated.
Press Service of the Government Administration
VAKHTANG GOMELAURI AWARDED SENIOR POLICE ADVISOR OF THE BUREAU OF INTERNATIONAL NARCOTICS AND LAW ENFORCEMENT AFFAIRS (INL) WITH THE CERTIFICATE OF ACKNOWLEDGEMENT AND MEDAL
The Minister of Internal Affairs /MIA/, Vakhtang Gomelauri awarded Michael Truner, the Senior Police Advisor of the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) to Georgia with the certificate of acknowledgement and the medal “For Special Merits” of the Ministry of Internal Affairs for the contribution to the capacity building of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia.
My expectations from Christian Danielsson's visit to Georgia and from our Western friends and Partners, in generalWednesday, 31 March 2021 12:20
“In principle, the processes developed exactly as during the previous negotiations. The negotiators failed to propose a text that would be acceptable to the Georgian Dream,” Zurab Japaridze, leader of Girchi -More Freedom party, said after a joint meeting between the opposition and government officials.
According to him, the Georgian Dream was not ready to agree to any points in the document and sign it. My expectations from Christian Danielsson's visit to Georgia and from our Western friends and Partners, in general.
The country is in a profound crisis. The economy is practically ruined. The investments have stopped, nobody wants to risk bringing their money in here. On top of that there is COVID-19 pandemic and the worsened security environment in the region. Against this background the Government manages to retain power through taking new multi-billion loans, through spreading propaganda based on lies and through utilizing the security agencies.
The political crisis, which instead of receding, has intensified following the 2020 Parliamentary elections, has acquired catastrophic magnitude as a result of the arrest of the chairman of the largest opposition party, the announcement of the de-facto chair of the ruling party that he was leaving politics and the resignation of the de-facto Prime Minister.
In a situation like this, for any country, which wishes to be perceived as a democracy, there is only one way to resolve crisis – new elections. But Georgian Dream claims that this is a “red line” for them.
In reality, it is not the new elections that are a “red line”. The red line for the Georgian Dream, is the loss of power. They are afraid to lose power as a result of fair elections, not just elections per se. Let’s not kid ourselves- this is the real “red line”.
Against this backdrop and taking into consideration the multitude of serious challenges mentioned above, our Western friends have decided to help us and to assume the role of the mediator between the de-facto authorities and the opposition. For this, they deserve our gratitude, especially the EU and US Ambassadors.
Several rounds of negotiations have ended without any result and now we are all expecting the second visit of the EU Council President’s special envoy, Mr. Daniellson with the hope that we can finally reach some agreement and resolve the political crisis.
However, at this moment it is not at all clear what can possibly happen during the second visit of Mr. Danielsson that will drastically change the dynamics of the negotiations and bring us to the agreement.
That is why, I have decided to publicly state what are my personal expectations as regards this visit and where I see the solution.
In my opinion, the five clauses outlined by the EU Council President indicate very precisely what exactly are the dire shortcomings that Georgia has. Without solving them, any discourse about addressing other issues and external threats, is quite simply, meaningless:
1) Political persecution must end, as using judicial system against the political opponents is incompatible with the Western/European values. Therefore, political prisoners must be set free
2) The courts must be independent and must not be ruled by a clan loyal to any one person or any one party, because such courts are incompatible with Western/European values
3) Power must be shared and the opposition has to be equipped with real tools to have a political impact, because power concentrated entirely in the hands of any one person or any one party is incompatible with the Western/European values
4) The elections should be free and fair, because the situation whereby not a single party or political leader voted for by the half of the voters, recognizes the results of the elections and trusts the electoral administration or courts, is incompatible with the Western/European values. Elections must be conducted in a fully proportional system, with a natural barrier threshold, as this is the only remedy against the existing polarization, as well as against the decades long malicious practice of one-party and one-man rule.
5) When in a deep crisis such as we have today, with all the threats that Georgia faces, the Government should have the sense of responsibility to set the day for new elections. Only authoritarian rulers do otherwise and this is not compatible with Western/European values.
I expect that these will be the messages of Mr. Danielsson during his second visit.
Moreover, I expect that similar messages will be voiced by all our Western friends.
This is the only solution in the current circumstances, because this is the truth.
The attempts to modify or “soften” this truth with messages such as “both sides are responsible for this situation” or “both sides have to find it in them to overcome the differences and come to a compromise” are doomed.
Because this is not the truth.
After the eight-year rule by Ivanishvili and the Georgian Dream, I do not understand where is my responsibility when it comes to:
- political persecution of the opposition;
- politicized judiciary managed by a clan;
- election system and administration that are at service of the ruling party;
- concentration of all power in the hands of one man who is not occupying any official position;
- extreme polarization of the political spectrum, the main architect of which is Georgian Dream, which has spent eight years on hate propaganda and has chosen the “middle ground elimination”, as its main political competition strategy at each election.
I also do not understand what can possibly be a compromise, as far as the clauses left by the EU Council President are concerned, except for technical details.
- Leave some control over judiciary to Ivanishvili?
- Allow for somewhat unfair elections, so that GD prolongs its rule?
- Leave all power levers for Ivanishvili and agree to some symbolic changes?
- Disregard all the above and come to terms with the Ivanishvili’s rule for the next four years?
That’s impossible. More than that, to agree to that would be irresponsible, would be equivalent to ignoring the problems and further prolonging the crisis.
Our Western partners have to realize this and therefore change the approach towards the negotiation process.
On March 22, 2021, Nino Lomjaria, Public Defender of Georgia, met with Kelly Degnan, Ambassador of the United States of America to Georgia.
The topic of discussion was the situation of human rights in Georgia. The Public Defender also spoke about the challenges faced by the Office, especailly in recent months, and the obstacles that hinder the full implementation of the Public Defender's mandate, for example when paying visits to semi-open prisons.
"Another visit paid by the US Ambassador to the Public Defender’s Office once again confirms the support that has been constantly expressed by the US Government to our Office," Nino Lomjaria said.
“It was a very informative meeting. It's important to have conversations with the Public Defender and find out what they are working on. It is an essential part of a strong democracy to have a Public Defender's Office that is defending the human rights of all the people of Georgia, working to keep transparency and accountability and democracy strong. I was very sorry to hear that there have been some attacks against the Public Defender's Office. That kind of hate speech is a toxic language, especially against an office that is serving the public in such an important way.
The Public Defender's Office also plays such an important role in keeping public officials accountable, something that Georgia needs to do more; more accountability, more transparency and less hate speech and vicious attacks against others“, the US Ambassador said after the meeting.
Public Defender of Georgia
Kelly Degnan was sworn in as new U.S. Ambassador to Georgia at the U.S. Department of State.
David Hale, the United States Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs attended the oath-taking ceremony.
The White House presented the candidacy of Kelly Degnan for post of U.S. Ambassador to Georgia in September of 2019. The Senate approved Degnan’s candidacy in December.
Degnan previously served as a political adviser to the commander of the U.S. Naval Forces Europe-U.S. Naval Forces Africa. A native of California, Degnan’s career has spanned 25 years and has included senior diplomatic postings to Italy, Kosovo, Afghanistan, and Turkey.
Degnan also served as the deputy executive secretary of the State Department, political counsellor at the U.S. mission to NATO, and special assistant to the secretary of state. Degnan speaks Italian, French, Turkish, and Urdu.
Elizabeth Rood has served as acting ambassador to Georgia since Ambassador Ian Kelly departed in March 2018.
The Prime Minister of Georgia met with the US Ambassador to Georgian Ian Kelly and EU Ambassador Janos Herman. The sides discussed October Parliamentary elections and political processes. Ian Kelly and Janos Herman congratulated to Giorgi Kvirikashvili the election results. According to them, the election was well-organized, open and competitive.
As US Ambassador said, 2016 elections confirmed the loyalty of Georgia to democratic reforms. He hoped that the second round will held in peaceful political field.
OSCE/ODIHR researches have been also discussed. Giorgi Kvirikashvili thanked to them for a positive assessment of the elections. He highlighted the role and importante of EU and International Community.
“It is necessary media to be available for all political forces and all political players to be created equal playing field,” -the US Ambassador to Georgia, Ian Kelly told reporters.
An American official talked about Maestro and said that US has been following the ongoing processes.
"We want Georgia to succeed as a democratic society. It is necessary the elections to be hold in free and fair environment. It is necessary media to be available for all political forces and all political players to be created equal playing field,”-US Ambassador said.