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Georgian parliament speaker finishes ‘interesting’ US visit

by | Mar 16, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch–The Georgian speaker of parliament said his week-long visit to the US has been ‘beneficial, interesting and timely.’

Speaker Davit Usupashvili was Saturday meeting with the media after holding nearly 50 meetings with the US Congress, State Department, the White House, the Pentagon and think tanks.

He said the talks showed that Georgias’s partners are interested in getting clearly introduced to the political course of the new government, both domestic and foreign affairs.

“We met with almost everyone who works on Georgia,” he said, adding that he felt support for the choice of the Georgian people.

“The country needs a strong government, civil society and independent media, and we need assistance for all of these, and this should continue,” he said, adding that the new government shouldn’t repeat the mistakes of the previous government.

He said one of the most important meetings was with Senator John McCain, which lasted longer than planned.

Usupashvili said they spoke about the necessary steps to correctly manage and complete the power-sharing process. They also spoke about Georgia-Russia relations, and Georgia’s attempts to melt the ice.

“He didn’t have any critical remarks. He thinks that trade relations are necessary. US has trade relations with Russia and why should Georgia not have trade relations with Russia,” the Speaker of Parliament remarks.

John McCain didn’t react negatively to Georgia’s decision to participate in the upcoming Winter Olympics in Sochi. The Saakashvili government decided not to participate. This was changed after the the change of government, a decision which was criticized by its opponents.

“If the rest of the democratic world is participating in these Olympics, what result can Georgia’s refusal have, except that we may end up in an even more difficult political situation?” he asked.

The speaker of parliament underlined that during his visit he saw perspectives for cooperation in different areas, and that now he plans to hold meetings with the executive and legislative government on those issues. This will be in agriculture, economy and defense.

Usupashvili met with several other congressmen, and also visited the US Atlantic Council and met with its vice president Damon Wilson to speak about future cooperation.

He also met with Rajiv Shah, Chairman of USAID. Usupashvili’s first visit to the US as parliament speaker started March 11.



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