US Ambassador Ian Kelly to Retire At The End of March

Ambassador to the United States of America since 2015, Ian Kelly will be calling the curtain on both his Ambassadorship to Georgia and his over three-decade career in the Foreign Service at the end of March. 

In his farewell speech at the “The Next Stage of the US-Georgia Strategic Partnership: Consolidation of Democracy" organized by the US Embassy in Georgia, Rondeli Foundation and Atlantic Council of Georgia, Kelly reflected on his time in Georgia. 

“By the time I came here as Ambassador in 2015, Georgia  had made a landmark achievement in the region, undergoing its first peaceful transition of power in 2012, but was facing another transition as President Saakashvili had left office less than one year before. 

I was impressed by the astonishing pace of reforms that followed the Rose Revolution, as well as the new government’s ambitious agenda to move forward.  When I travelled to regional centers like the mountain village of Mestia or the bustling seaside town of Batumi, I admired not only Georgia’s rich culture and history, but also the country’s rapid movement into the future” he said. 

The Ambassador commented on the progress that Georgia has made on its path towards integration with the West:

“Despite a divisive and tense political atmosphere, there was one thing all the people I met agreed on:  Georgia’s future was with the West. 

Looking back on my three years here, I see many significant benchmarks of Georgia’s Western integration:  signing an Association Agreement with the European Union, initiating the Substantial NATO-Georgia Package, opening the Joint Training and Evaluation Center, and achieving visa-free travel to the Schengen zone to name just a few. Perhaps most importantly, I was witness to three elections deemed open and largely transparent by international standards. 

By Máté Földi 

22 February 2018 20:16