Ned Price, the Spokesperson for the US Department of State, discussed the continuous political challenges in Georgia during a press conference.
Ned Price was requested by the journalist to convey to Georgians a clear message from the United States. He also asked Price for an assessment of the roles played by the ruling party and the opposition in the EU’s implementation of the 12-point plan.
Price stated that the United States and the American people have “stood in solidarity” with the people of Georgia since the beginning, and this has continued through succeeding administrations.
“Over the course of successive administrations, we’ve stood with their desire to be a free and sovereign country within internationally recognized borders,” he said.
“Despite recent damaging rhetoric from some Georgian political elites, this has not changed. We remain a partner to the Georgian people. Over the last 30 years, in fact, we’ve become strategic partners, working together toward our shared vision of Georgia, fully integrated into the Euro-Atlantic family of nations and part of a Europe that is whole, free, and at peace,” he highlighted.
“This is a vision that takes political will. It takes hard work; it takes patience; it takes significant efforts to realize,” he added.
Price noted that the US has given Georgia more than $6 billion in aid, training tens of thousands of Georgian military and sending thousands more for cultural and educational exchanges.
He claimed that among many other initiatives with the Georgian people and the Georgian government, the United States had assisted in promoting economic growth, the application of the law, and democratic governance.
“We are open with the Georgian Government about the need to strengthen democratic institutions and processes, the rule of law, and human rights for all,” Price highlighted.
“The democratic backsliding that we’ve observed, that we’ve talked about even in recent days, is taking Georgia away from its stated goal of Euro-Atlantic integration; but even more importantly, it’s weakening its own democracy,” he underlined.
“It’s weakening the democracy that the Georgian people so clearly aspire to achieve,” he outlined.
Price stated that the US will remain Georgia’s partner as they work toward a democratic, affluent, peaceful, and Euro-Atlantic future.
He added, however, that the US “urges the Georgian Government to implement the necessary reforms to acquire EU candidate status,” and that the US stands prepared to support the government in doing so.