TBILISI, DFWatch – The United States will make a significant emphasis on monitoring the election campaign in Georgia, and pay special attention to observing the vote counting process after the election.
This is according to a statement by Irakli Alasania, representative of the Georgian Dream coalition, the main rival of the ruling party, on Saturday, after meeting with U.S. Senator Richard Lugar.
Lugar visited Georgia for one day and held meetings with representatives of the government and the opposition.
Lugar met for one hour behind closed doors with Tedo Japharidze, David Usuphashvili, Irakli Alasania, representatives of Georgian Dream and Giorgi Targamadze, leader of Christian Democrats.
According to Alasania, the USA will pay special attention to the vote counting process after the parliamentary election, which will be held on October 1.
“We all understand that there should not be any violations during the vote counting. We also talked about the Russian occupation and how important the US’s support is for Georgia’s territorial integrity and the withdrawal of Russian troops from the territory of the country,” Alasania said.
He added that talks also touched upon the economic situation. He noted that both sides agreed that representatives of any community should be given equal opportunities in business.
“Monopolists must leave Georgian politics, media and business as well. Senator Richard Lugar fully supports this. He supports fair elections and proper vote count in Georgia,” said Alasania.
Targamadze says Senator Lugar supports Georgia’s democratic future and unity.
He adds that after this election, the one-party dominance in the political system should be ended and American friends understand this very well.
After the meeting with the opposition, Richard Lugar and Andrew Weber, USA’s Assistant Secretary of Defense, participated in naming the Central Public Health Reference Laboratory and laying the foundation for a new building of Georgia’s National Center for Disease Control.
The laboratory was named after Senator Lugar for his merits in decreasing nuclear, chemical and biological threats in the world.
The Public Health Reference Laboratory is a joint US-Georgia project. This is a facility whose goal is to strengthen and develop social and animal health care, based on a knowledge base and pathogen collection built up during the Soviet Union as part of the anti-plague program. It also is part of the non-proliferation effort by securing such pathogens from falling into the wrong hands.
The laboratory is a symbol of the important role Georgia plays on its own and in the region’s defense against possible threats, and as a symbol of cooperation between Georgia and USA in this field.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Walter Reed Army Institute of Research will also have offices in this building.
This place will become a regional education center, also an important element in the global network of epidemic surveillance laboratories, established as an early warning system for dangerous diseases.
This is one of the largest American investments in Georgia so far, President Mikheil Saakshvili said after the ceremony.
“A whole new school will grow here of new Georgian science and new Georgian and regional sciences and this is strategically very important object for our country.”
He thanked Senator Lugar, adding that he is an important person for Americans, but for Georgians too.
Richard Lugar said that it is an honor to name a laboratory after him and noted that friendship, cooperation and partnership with the Georgian people means much to him.
He said the laboratory has a potential to become a regional center for surveillance, research, biosafety and the safety sector in general.
He said after the Soviet Union collapsed, an era of risks and changes started, when there was a challenge to destroy the stock of nuclear and chemical weapons of Soviet times. Pathogens are a threat to people’s live but also to animals’ lives.
Senator Lugar expressed hope that Georgia’s European centers will help to achieve improvement and to also improve cooperation in next years. The Lugar program is an opportunity to achieve common goals – interrupt and avoid diseases, he said adding that Lugar Center is main chain between US and Georgia.