Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Thomas O. Melia. (Interpressnews.)

TBILISI, DFWatch–Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Thomas O. Melia says the United States is looking forward to cooperating with the new prime minister and president of Georgia.

Thomas O. Melia, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State in the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, at the United States Department of State, said this on Wednesday during a visit to Georgia.

Speaking at a press conference, Melia said Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili’s decision to leave politics fulfills an earlier promise.

Melia also said that the PM’s leaving will create some problems and challenges.

“Though we should wait and see who the next PM will be, we are looking forward to cooperating with the new PM and president of Georgia’, he added.

Melia said he believes that the upcoming presidential election in October is an opportunity for Georgia to show that the democratic development is continuing and the country is on an Euro-Atlantic course.

If local and international observers perceive the future election as fair and transparent, this will have a ‘direct influence’ on Georgia’s Euro-Atlantic aspirations, he said.

During the press conference, Melia referred to recent events which took place in the villages Chela and Tetritskharo, where there was a religious conflict. He called these events ‘extremely concerning.’

Religious freedom is a key issue, and the United States is paying great attention to it, both at home and in foreign policy, he noted.

“I had an optimistic conversation with the Catholicos-Patriarch of All Georgia today and I am hopeful for the development of religious process in the future’, he added.