Kerry and Janelidze Reaffirm Commitment to US-Georgia Alliance

WASHINGTON D.C.- US Secretary of State John Kerry and Georgian Foreign Minister Mikheil Janelidze met in Washington Tuesday for lengthy discussions on security issues in the Caucasus region and the two countries continued commitment to developing closer political and economic ties.

In his opening statements to the media, Kerry spoke at length about the commitment successive US governments have had towards supporting Georgia and its drive towards closer Euro-Atlantic integration.

Kerry also made a concerted effort to assure Janelidze that the US government respects Georgia’s territorial integrity as defined by international law and the United Nations.

He further stressed that the presence of Russian occupation forces in Georgia’s Moscow-backed breakaway Abkhazia and South Ossetia regions was unacceptable and would never recognized by the United Sates.

“We applaud the current focus in Georgia on economic development and building opportunities for the people of Georgia. We believe that an independent, unified, and prosperous Georgia is essential to the peace and stability of the Caucasus,” Kerry said in his prepared statements.

He later extended his personal gratitude to the Georgian government for their contributions to US-led international peace keeping missions in Afghanistan and East Africa, as well as Tbilisi’s significant role in counter-terrorism operations in the Middle East and the Caucasus region.

Janelidze was quick to thank Kerry for his remarks before quickly proceeding to enumerate the specific achievements of his country’s ruling Georgian Dream coalition in its drive to strengthen democracy and economic development amid a weakening national currency and growing political instability.

Referring to US-Georgian relations as a deeply rooted friendship, Janelidze said that the United States and its NATO allies could continue to count on Georgia’s committed support in its drive towards further integration with Western institutions.

“The Georgian Government is pursuing a bold reform agenda that will continue our integration into the EU and NATO. Georgia’s strategic partnership with the United States has been instrumental and contributed greatly to achieving these results. We will continue our successful cooperation in many areas,” Janelidze said.

Kerry was speaking prior to leaving for Moscow to conduct meetings with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, following the Kremlin’s sudden announcement to withdraw militarily from the Syrian Civil War.

Prior to closing out his statements, Kerry promised to visit Georgia before the end of the first half of the year.

“I’d like to reiterate that it’s my intention to get to Georgia somewhere in June or perhaps shortly thereafter. We are trying to make plans to get there as soon as possible, because Georgia is an important friend of the United States,” said Kerry.

16 March 2016 12:46