Future US Ambassador to Georgia: We need a democratic country that is resistant to Russian influence
New US Ambassador to Georgia
At a hearing in the US Senate, the candidate for the post of ambassador to Georgia, Robin Dunnigan, said that she would work with the Georgian authorities and the Georgian people to help the country integrate into the European Union, NATO and the West. According to the ambassador, the United States needs a democratic Georgia that can protect its borders and resist the “harmful actions” of Russia.
Asked about Bidzina Ivanishvili and Russia’s influence on Georgian politics, Dunnigan said it was important for the US to support Georgia in building democratic institutions that would strengthen society and make it resilient to Russia’s actions:
“I am deeply convinced that supporting Georgia on the path of building democratic institutions, strengthening independent media, strengthening the judiciary are all steps that help strengthen society and make it resilient to the harmful actions of Russia or China.”
Asked if the US needs to take a tougher stance against anti-democratic forces in Georgia, Dunnigan said the US was being honest with the Georgian authorities about the troubling steps they have taken.
According to her, the protests over the law on foreign agents in Georgia reflected the desire of the Georgian people to firmly integrate into the West and the European Union:
“We see again and again the commitment of the Georgian people to this path, and I think it is in our national interest to continue to support them in this.”
Regarding the circumvention of sanctions, Danigen said the US priority is to ensure that sanctions are implemented and enforced, and they have a direct relationship with the Georgian authorities, the National Bank and the private sector on this issue.
Dunnigan believes that Russia is engaged in disinformation in Georgia, and this has an impact on the country:
“That’s why I think our help in bringing about democratic reforms is needed.”
Dunnigan also talked about the 12 EU recommendations that the Georgian government must fulfill in order to become an EU candidate. She said she intends to work with the government to support the fulfillment of these reforms.
Robin Dunnigan also talked about four priorities that they will work on if appointed as Ambassador to Georgia:
“If I am confirmed as Ambassador, my focus will be on four priorities:
First, my top priority will be to ensure the safety of all US Embassy staff and all Americans in Georgia.
Second, I will work with the Georgian government and the Georgian people to help realize their dream of strong integration into the European Union, NATO and the West. Euro-Atlantic integration will not only benefit the citizens of Georgia, I deeply believe that it is also in the US national interest. We want a democratic Georgia that is firmly integrated with the West, capable of defending its borders, and capable of resisting Russia’s malign actions.
Georgia has made significant progress over the past 30 years, but some disturbing developments indicate that more needs to be done.
Third, I will strengthen bilateral trade and investment, including by increasing US exports and providing opportunities for US companies in Georgia.
The fourth priority will be to support the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Georgia considering that Russia still occupies 20% of its [Georgian] territory. I will work with Georgian and international partners to push Russia to fulfill its obligations under the 2008 ceasefire agreement and the UN Charter.”
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On February 13, 2023, United States President Joe Biden nominated Robin Dunnigan as a candidate for the post of Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to Georgia.
Dunnigan is currently Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Central and Eastern European Affairs in the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs of the US Department of State, and was previously Chargé d’Affaires ad interim and Deputy Chief of Mission at the US Embassy in Austria.
At various times she has served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Bureau of Energy, and worked at the US Embassies in Vietnam, Chile, Turkey, Cuba and El Salvador.
Dunnigan will replace Kelly Degnan, who was appointed U.S. Ambassador to Georgia on January 29, 2020 for a three-year term.
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Robin Dunnigan received her Master of Social Science degree from the National War College. She also holds a Master of Science degree from Georgetown University and a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of California, Berkeley. In addition to English, she speaks Spanish, German, Turkish and Vietnamese.
According to the US Constitution, the President’s nomination for the post of Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary must be approved by the United States Senate.
Before the Senate makes a decision, there will be hearings in the legislature, the candidate will answer questions from lawmakers and present his vision of American policy.
New US Ambassador to Georgia