Secretary of Defense James Mattis Salutes Special US-Georgian Friendship

In remarks delivered at a bilateral meeting with Georgian Defense Minster, Levan Izoria, at The Pentagon on November 13th, 2017, US Secretary of Defense James Mattis praised the special friendship of the two nations. 

“This year marks the 25th anniversary of diplomatic ties between Georgia & the U.S., and 2018 will mark the 10th anniversary of the Bucharest Pledge that Georgia will one day become a NATO member. Our countries have stood by one another in friendship and solidarity since Georgia chose to join the community of democratic nations a quarter century ago,” Mattis said. 

The former General also took to reiterating America’s commitment to the security of Georgia, as well as recognizing the significant contribution of Georgia to the war in Afghanistan, 

“This year also marks the 10th anniversary of the Russian-Georgian war. As Vice President Pence said during his visit to Tbilisi this summer, “America stands with Georgia.” This commitment is underpinned by our nations’ shared values of sovereignty, territorial integrity, and respect for the rules-based international order.

"Minister Izoria, your Prime Minister’s affirmation to stand with us in Afghanistan until the last U.S. soldier leaves is a powerful and deeply appreciated signal of our nations’ friendship and strategic partnership. We recognize your nation as the largest per capita and non-NATO force contributor to the mission. With 871 troops continuously deployed, Georgia is an example for all. We honor the 32 Georgian soldiers who have paid the ultimate sacrifice in pursuit of this cause, and your wounded, many of whom have suffered grievous injuries in our fight against terrorism.” said the Secretary of Defense.

Furthermore, the Secretary of Defense also commended and underlined the United States’ support for Georgia’s “devotion to strengthening and modernizing its military capabilities with 2.2% of your GDP dedicated to defense spending,” believing that such efforts put Georgia in a position to significantly improve the effectiveness of its military. 

Finally, Secretary Mattis took the time to mark the special timing of the meeting, and wish the Georgian people well for the upcoming national celebrations. “We meet this week as our two countries prepare for celebratory feasts next Thursday – St. George’s day in Georgia and Thanksgiving here. I wish your nation a very happy holiday in honor of your patron saint – immortalized as a defender of the Georgian people,” he said. 

Photo source: US Embassy twitter

By Máté Földi 

14 November 2017 18:05