US Secretary of State: "We are looking forward to Georgia joining NATO"
On 21 May, the Prime Minister of Georgia Giorgi Kvirikashvili met with the US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo.
“In a few days Georgia will celebrate the 100th anniversary of the first Republic. Georgia has come a long way before becoming a worthy partner and ally of the United States,” said Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili at the end of the meeting in Washington.
According to him bilateral relations have strengthened even more under President Trump. “We see even greater potential for the future,” Kvirikashvili stressed.
According to the Prime Minister, it was due to the continuous support of the USA that the democratic processes in Georgia became irreversible, the governmental institutions became stronger and serious opportunities arose for economic development of Georgia, as well as for the entire region.
Pompeo said after meeting with Kvirikashvili that the United States is eagerly awaiting the moment when Georgia will become a NATO member.
“Our decision is unchangeable. President Trump unequivocally supports the decisions of the 2008 Bucharest Summit, and the United States is looking forward to the day when Georgia will be accepted to NATO. At our meeting today we examined all aspects which link national security, dynamic economy and democracy,” Pompeo said.
Pompeo and Kvirikashvili have placed greater emphasis on several topics, in particular the conflict with Russia and territorial integrity.
Kvirikashvil has noted that for Georgia, the position of the White House on the conflict with Russia and unconditional support of the territorial integrity of Georgia are extremely important.
“For Georgia and the entire region, the US’s support is extremely important on the issues of conflict with Russia and peaceful deoccupation of Abkhazia and the Tskhinvali region – the Georgian territories,” Kvirikashvili said.
According to Pompeo, the US condemns the occupation of Georgian lands, which occurred exactly 10 years ago. “Occupied Abkhazia and South Ossetia are integral parts of Georgia. The United States supports sovereignty and territorial integrity within the internationally recognized borders. We call upon Russia to fulfill all its obligations under the peace agreement concluded in 2008 – to withdraw its armed forces to the pre-conflict positions of August 2008, to withdraw recognition of the sovereignty of Abkhazia and South
Ossetia, and to provide the opportunity for the two regions to receive humanitarian assistance,” the US Secretary of State said.
Giorgi Kvirikashvili has placed particular emphasis on the importance of the US’s assistance in the military sphere and in enhancing the defensive capabilities of Georgia. According to him, Georgia is doing everything that is necessary to achieve the requirements needed to join NATO. He thanked the United States for the opportunity to purchase the JAVELIN anti-tank systems.
“This year, in view of the upcoming Brussels summit, we expect that our aspiration for NATO membership and our progress in this matter will receive a worthy recognition.
“Georgia’s accession to NATO will expand the opportunities for Euro-Atlantic security and I want to thank you, Mr. Secretary of State, for your support on Georgia’s admission to NATO,” the Prime Minister said, also stressing the fact that Georgia, participating in the peace mission in Afghanistan, bears human losses.
Pompeo said that the United States bowed before the memory of the victims, highly appreciated Georgia’s participation in the peacekeeping operation and viewed Georgia as a ‘strong and defensive partner’.
“Georgia is the type of partner which has proven its willingness to contribute to the establishment of international security and the protection of Western values. Out of non-member states, Georgia is the largest contractor in the Afghanistan mission. The Georgian military unselfishly fulfill this obligation – 32 Georgian soldiers sacrificed their lives for strengthening peace and ensuring stability,” the US Secretary of State said.
According to him, the USA and Georgia will continue to improve their cooperation in security, including the fight on global terrorism, preventing terrorists from entering Georgia and attempts to smuggle radioactive substances.
“At the parliamentarian and local elections in 2016 and 2017 the Georgian nation proved once again its Euro-Atlantic choice, including accession to NATO in the near future,” Pompeo said.
The economy and the rule-of-law state
According to Giorgi Kvirikashvili, with the help of the United States, Georgia has become an attractive country for investors. According to him, private American investments are extremely important for Georgia in projects such as the deep-water port in Anaklia.
“Georgia is one of those countries in the world that has all the necessary institutions, strategies and business environments for mutually beneficial trade agreements with the United States. With the introduction of the free trade regime between our countries, according to a recent study by PricewaterhouseCoopers, within 5 years US exports may increase by 360%, helping to create new jobs in the US,” said Giorgi Kvirikashvili.
According to Pompeo, today’s message from the USA to Georgia is absolutely clear: the US firmly and unshakably supports Georgia, and this will not change in the future. Pompeo said that the main things for ensuring Georgia’s security are an open society and a strong economy. He stressed that it is extremely important for Georgia to strengthen the rule of law, which is ensured by an independent judiciary system and accountability of the government and pluralism.
“The USA supports the aspirations of Georgia to create opportunities for the voice of every citizen to be heard, including in politics and the media, and to establish control mechanisms and balance in power institutions,” said the US Secretary of State, congratulating Georgia on the anniversary of its independence.