Saakashvili meets with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton
By Ernest Petrosyan
Friday, February 3
Calling Georgia a "valued partner," U.S. Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton welcomed Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili to Washington on February 2.
Clinton recognized the bilateral cooperation occurring between the two countries, from education and culture, to democracy and rule of law, to trade and investment. She also thanked Georgia for “actively participating in Afghanistan, where Georgian soldiers are showing great courage and professionalism".
Saakashvili, in turn, thanked Clinton for her support for Georgia’s territorial integrity and sovereignty. He noted that it manifested itself not just in the words, but also in the actions, of the United States, adding, "We are proud to serve with you in Afghanistan".
Before his conversation with the Secretary of State, Saakashvili remarked that he was “totally elated” after meeting with President Obama in the Oval Office, “because I heard everything I wanted to hear”.
“I have been in there [in the Oval Office] before. But this time... my country has matured up to the challenges. I think we now are moving to another level in cooperation,” Saakashvili observed. He also noted that only a few years ago it would have been unimaginable for the United States to mention a free trade agreement with Georgia.
“Thank you for treating us like this. As I said, my nation is watching, people in our region have been watching and… we are not going back empty handed,” Saakashvili said, adding that he now had “so many things to carry back” to Georgia.
“It’s a great struggle. Sometimes it’s like uphill struggle because it’s against the forces that are trying to undermine us,” he acknowledged.
Saakashvili also invited Secretary Clinton to the seaside city of Batumi this month. It is not known if she is able to accept the invitation.