US Ambassador Holds a Virtual Press Conference

US Ambassador Kelly Degnan held a virtual press conference on Wednesday. In her opening remarks, the Ambassador highlighted the strength of friendship between Georgia and the USA, adding that she takes pride in being the US Ambassador to a country that is “committed to upholding the democratic values we share, and that is willing to do the hard work required to improve the quality of life for its citizens.”

Ambassador Degnan shared her view on the biggest challenge that Georgia is facing.

"The challenge for Georgia now is to use the institutions it has built and follow-through on reforms to solidify its democratic progress. We are already seeing Parliament exercise its new tools for better oversight of the executive branch of government.

No less important is an independent, professional judiciary. There are many dedicated legal professionals in Georgia – judges, prosecutors, defense attorneys – who want to practice law free from political interference. The U.S. has supported Georgia in making important strides toward creating an independent, transparent, efficient judicial system, and our support will continue. Further progress is essential for Georgia’s democratic development, as well as for Georgia’s economic growth. Investors need to know they can enforce a contract and resolve disputes in a fair and timely manner, on a level playing field, or they will go elsewhere to invest,” noted the Ambassador.

Ambassador Degnan also expressed her wish for further deepening the friendship between the US and Georgia. She said she’d like to see more American businesses in Georgia and more Georgian businesses in the US.

“We would like to see more American companies investing in Georgia and more Georgian companies - in the United States,” said the Ambassador. Then she followed up with the connection of the judiciary system and the business, noting the reason why the States has spent years working with Georgia to create a judicial system.

"Businesses need to know that they are investing in a country that has a reliable judiciary, that their disputes will be resolved fairly and in a timely manner”, the Ambassador pointed out.

The US Ambassador also touched on the topic of the upcoming parliamentary elections and the importance of following the March 8 agreement.  

“The parties set the terms of the agreement, which is intended to de-polarize Georgia’s political tensions. Fulfilling the agreement will create the environment and the opportunity for greater pluralism in this year’s parliamentary elections, which is what Georgians have said they want. If the agreement fails, it will be a real set back for Georgia.

“The U.S. is providing expert guidance and advice on election reform legislation to ensure OSCE recommendations are fully incorporated into the law. These recommendations are specifically designed to avoid the shortfalls of previous elections and facilitate credible, free, and fair elections in October”, Ambassador Degnan said.

While reporting how the US has helped Georgia's response to COVID-19 so far, the Ambassador noted that "we [the US] are pleased to see Georgia’s public health system manage this unprecedented crisis so capably." 

By Nini Dakhundaridze 

21 May 2020 01:17