“Let me, on behalf of the Parliament of Georgia underline that we do our best for further enhancement of our links and friendship”, - the Speaker noted at the reception in the Congress held in his honor.
The Speaker was introduced by the Ambassador of Georgia, David Bakradze.
The Speaker thanked the attendees for support to Georgia and contribution by USA in democratic development of our country. He underlined that USA is the main strategic partner and friend of Georgia. “It is the USA that inspires Georgia for democratic development since the early 90s. We are grateful for enhancement of our statehood and support to our sovereignty. We are grateful for political support to our independence and territorial integrity, for support in security and for financial support, which is paramount for development of Georgian democracy and economy”, - the Speaker stated.
According to him, 2017 was a special year in terms of enhancement of bilateral relations. He thanked the US Administration and Congress for intact support to Georgia. The two countries share the common values, he stated. “These values are respect to national freedom and independence, free trade, liberal economy and democratic and liberal values. These are the values serving the basis for cooperation, which enhances our relations. It is symbolic that we are hosted by the Democratic Partnership of the Congress, which is a particular support of Georgian Parliament. We enjoy the operative support from USA, which means that it is not the support of any certain Government solely but it is the support by USA. We value our cooperation and believe that Georgia is a successful country in this direction and that bilateral relations will further be intensified. We believe that Georgia is the best model of a loyal strategic partner for USA in our region and cherish the ambition to maintain this status”.
He noted that Georgia aspires to contribute in global development, peace and security. “We strive for global peace and security in various areas, including in Afghanistan, where Georgian soldiers contribute in global peace and security. We are proud of this contribution. Georgia is a small country but we have the ambition to contribute our mite in global development, peace and security and we do our best for this purpose”.
Georgia and USA share the common interests in the region: stability, energy safety and transit potential. The Speaker noted that America is particularly merited in enhancement of statehood of our country. “This year, we celebrate the 100th anniversary of restoration of independence. In 1918, we established the first Georgian Republic and it is noteworthy that USA has played the key role in enhancement of our statehood. We are proud of friendship with USA and on behalf of the Parliament of Georgia, I would like to note that we do our best to further enhance our links and friendship”.
The Chair of the Democratic Partnership of the Congress, David Price addressed the attendees and pledged the support to Georgia, stating that USA values friendship with Georgia. "We are friends with Georgia because of course the ties we've build over the years, especially with the members of Georgian parliament, of both parties. But we also are of course remindful what Georgia stands for. That kind of friendship with this country and the kind of solidarity that we feel in both directions because the values we share, commitment to democracy, commitment to making life better for all of our citizens and in terms of parliament - a commitment to building effective representative institutions – that is absolutely key to what the democracy is all about. We are all aware, in a very tough environment, in a neighborhood full of autocratic states and with a neighbor that occupied the forth of the country and is constantly, constantly voicing the treats.
It's a tough environment. And it's wonderful that Georgians in all political stripes have shown an admirable result, an admirable commitment to freedom, an admirable wish for self determination and really it's all we would wish for Georgia as we would wish for our country. And ability to determine Georgia's own course economically, politically, self determination to become part of Europe and to have cultural relationships with the west as of course the cultural relationships with all neighbors. But self determination is absolutely fundamental. We will stand with you”.
He spoke about importance of the Parliament and stated that the strong Parliament is necessary for the national interests. "Strong and responsible parliament, representative institution is critical to support Georgia's people and the sense that Georgia's national interests are being pursued in a way that, sure, there will be fights, there will be differences, there will be all sorts of things that parliament is engaging, in terms of internal politics, but in the end of the day, you all Georgians, you all are committed to that self determination and we hope and believe committed to solidarity our own country. But it is equally critical what happens between elections. That's what we are all about. What happens between elections? Either you have effective, legitimate representative parliament, or you don't. If you do, than you have a much better chance of serving the needs of all your people and having a stable, secure and enduring democracy. So we are committed to that kind of institutional strengthening and we are looking for that to continue”.
The Chair of the USA-Georgia Friendship Group, Ted Poe started his speech with appreciation of the merit of Georgian soldiers fighting in Afghanistan.
He spoke about the values Georgia and USA share. Georgia lives in a rough neighborhood, he stated. Russia’s President Putin still cherishes the illusion to reunite the former Soviet Republics and for this purpose, Georgia was the first democratic country he attacked in the region. “Georgia was and still is the strongest democracy in the region and Putin believes that if he defeats Georgia, he will take over the rest of the former Soviet countries. So, he naturally started his attacks with Georgia proceeding to Ukraine trying to extend his influence. That is why, it is important for USA to strongly support Georgia, Ukraine and Moldova to allow these countries maintaining independence and freedom as they are no puppets for Russian imperialistic desires”.
He recalled his visit to Georgia in 2008 and underlined that Russia has illegally occupied Georgian territories and this is the US resolute policy. “I visited Georgia in 2008 in a week after Russian invasion and occupation of Georgian territories. I witnessed Russian tanks. Russians are still there. US policy declares that Russia has illegally occupied territories of Georgia and this policy will not change as it is true. Russia still illegally occupies Ukraine”.
He spoke about importance of democracy. “We want to assist you in improvement of your democracy as democracy is not simple to achieve. Sometimes, it may seem that it does not work but we will be wrong, as democracy shows that it does work when the people are allowed expressing their opinions and making the common decisions, and when you have the Speaker ensuring wide involvement in this process. It shows that democracy does work. I am proud to chair the Friendship Group. I am also the NATO PA member hosted by Georgia last year. I believe that it speaks a lot about Georgia-West and Georgia-USA relations”.
The MCC CEO, Jonathan Nash spoke about successful cooperation with Georgia.
The reception was held in honor of the Speaker, Irakli Kobakhidze in the Washington hosted by David Price.
The reception was attended by the Congressmen and Senators, as well as experts.