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U.S. envoy discussed Georgia’s new approach to Russia

by | Nov 17, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch — Georgia’s defense and foreign ministers on Saturday met the U.S. Philip Gordon, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State.

Gordon, whose full title is U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, visited Georgia for a second day to hold meetings with officials.

Foreign Affairs Minister Maia Panjikidze said after the meeting that the main topic of conversation was Russia. Zurab Abashidze, the newly appointed Special Representative for relations with Russia, also attended the meeting.

The Georgian representatives explained to the guest what it means to appoint special representatives.

“We explained that the second channel, which we want to open with Russian relations, won’t interrupt the Geneva talks,” Panjikidze said. “The Geneva process is the most important forum, which we have for Russian relations and everything will be done to retain this forum.”

Also discussed was Georgia’s participation in NATO’s ISAF operation in Afghanistan.

“I appreciate hearing from the Foreign Minister Georgia’s continued commitment to strong relations with the USA and to Euro-Atlantic integration. Speaking for the United States, we obviously very much support both of those paths for Georgia,” Philip Gordon said after the meeting with Maia Panjikidze.

“I know she was recently in Berlin and in Brussels and will look forward to meeting of Georgia-NATO commission in December, which should be an opportunity to acknowledge and to support Georgia’s path towards NATO; and we also strongly express our support for Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.”

Also discussed at the meeting was the issue of the prime minister’s first visit to the U.S., which will probably take place by the end of November.

Philip Gordon also met with Defense Minister Irakli Alasania to speak about Georgia’s prospects for NATO integration and participation in the ISAF mission.

Georgia will remain a reliable partner of the U.S. and is ready to contribute to world security, he said.

Alasania underlined that Georgian soldiers will remain in Afghanistan until the mission is finished and will help Afghan national security forces after 2014, when ISAF will start pulling out troops from Afghanistan.

They also discussed a visit next year by NATO’s military committee.



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