In her first public speech, Kelly Degnan called Russia a neighbor hostile to Georgia
US President Donald Trump announced the appointment of Kelly Degnan as head of the diplomatic mission to Georgia last September. On December 19, Degnan’s candidacy was approved by the Senate.
During the appointment ceremony, Degnan called Russia a hostile neighbor to Georgia, and said her mission would be dedicated to deepening relations between Washington and Tbilisi in the development of democracy, trade and security
Kelly Degnan is a professional diplomat.
Prior to her appointment to Georgia, she served as political adviser to the commander of the United States Navy in Europe and Africa.
Over the course of her 25-year diplomatic career, Degnan has worked at US embassies in Italy, Kosovo, Turkey, a political adviser to NATO, a civilian representative of the US military brigade in Afghanistan, and also an assistant secretary of state for political affairs.
Kelly Degnan has a Ph.D. and a bachelor’s degree in journalism; she speaks Italian, French, Turkish and Urdu.
In her speech, Kelly Degnan emphasized that Georgia faces threats from Russia.
Degnan said the country has made impressive progress in the fight against corruption, in matters of doing business, and now it should focus on fairness and transparency of processes, compliance with laws.
She noted the 2020 parliamentary elections will play a very important role in the development of Georgia. In her speech, Kelly Degnan repeatedly called Georgia an important strategic partner of the United States and recalled the participation of Georgian units in operations in Afghanistan.
The ambassador also promised to continue implementing programs in Georgia to help develop and strengthen democratic institutions, including the USAID mission.
•For more than a year, since April 2018, there has not been a head of the US diplomatic mission in Georgia. The last US ambassador to Georgia was Jan Kelly. After the expiration of his powers, the diplomatic mission was left without a formal leader.