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US official refrains from commenting on Saakashvili’s extradition

By Mariam Mchedlidze
Thursday, February 19
The US Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland has refrained from commenting on the case of Georgia’s former President Mikheil Saakashvili’s extradition to Georgia from Ukraine, saying the issue concerns only Georgia and Ukraine.

“It was Saakashvili’s independent decision to become a member of Ukraine’s Council of Advisors. Ukraine aspires to gain broad international experience through the people who have already worked in this direction,” she said.

According to the American official, the relationship between Georgia and Ukraine is historically crucial for both states and appealed to the countries to retain the friendly attitudes.

“Georgia and Ukraine need each other,” she said.

Nuland promised support with regard to the implementation of the NATO-Georgia substantive package granted to Georgia at the Wales Summit last year.

At the meeting with Georgia’s Prime Minister, the sides spoke about the issues regarding regional security and increasing Georgia’s defence capabilities, as well as strengthening the economic-trade relations between Georgia and the US.

During his meetings with high-ranking Georgian officials, Nuland reiterated the United State’s support to Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. She emphasized the importance of reforming states structures and advised the government and the opposition to work together.

“You should focus on the future, not on the past,” she stated.

The American official finalized her visit on February 18 at the meeting with the opposition Free Democrats.

According to party leader Irakli Alasania, the sides discussed the regional security related issues and the challenges Georgia is facing currently.

Alasania said that one of the topics concerned the arrest of the Defense Ministry staff that resulted in his firing from the post of the Defense Minister several months ago.