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US Congress delegation meet with Georgian officials

By Salome Modebadze
Tuesnday, August 3
After starting their working visits with the representatives of the US Embassy in Georgia US Congress delegation held meetings with the representatives of the Georgian Legislative and Governmental bodies on August 2. Akaki Minashvili, Chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee said the Parliament members discussed security issues concerning Georgia at the meeting. The subject of discussions, according to Minashvili has been the wise solutions from the situation created by Russian political activities and the economical reforms in Georgia. Davit Darchiashvili, Chairman of the Committee on European Integration added that the charter of strategic cooperation with the US has been one of the most burning issues. “We will discuss all the issues which are important for US-Georgian relations as well as talk about the ongoing processes in Georgia and all the challenges our country is facing,” Darchiashvili told the media before the meeting with the US Congress delegation members.

“The friendly US group is interested in the ongoing processes in Georgia so the delegates became familiar with the constitutional reform, possible changes in the electoral process, and Georgia’s integration to EU, etc. What’s more the US guests are also interested in the State Strategy on Occupied Territories as well as the steps made by the Lithuanian Parliament which is against the occupation and facilitates the international organization’s engagement to support Georgia,” Darchiashvili told The Messenger later.

Nugzar Tsiklauri, majoritarian MP said the meeting with the Assistants for US Congressmen had been very interesting and fruitful because these people will further provide the Congressmen with the information about Georgia. “Our US guests have familiarized themselves with the basic reforms and changes in our country and gave promises to encourage us in the security issues as well as the democratization processes. We answered all the guests' questions and explained the importance of the basic changes in the State Constitution as well as stressed the importance of the special groups working on the election issues. Everyone had unanimously emphasizes that the local and self-government elections in Georgia have been the best this year,” Tsiklauri told The Messenger adding that it is part of the Assistants' job to make relevant sense about Georgia and share their concern with the Congressmen.

Nika Laliashvili MP from the Christian-Democratic Movement was the only opposition member to attend the meetings with the US Congress Assistants. A variety of issues concerning the bilateral cooperation between the sides was discussed at the meeting. “We spoke of constitutional reform, improvement of the electoral environment and security issues,” Laliashvili shared with the media.

Giorgi Baramidze, Vice Prime Minister and State Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration spoke of the importance of the US Congress representatives visit to Georgia, which according to Baramidze is preparing important decisions for the congressmen and senators about our country and is crucial for our territorial integrity and democratic development. “We spoke about implementing the term “occupation” in the official US and European documentation as well as Georgia’s integration to Euro-Atlantic structures and prospective US-Georgian relations,” Baramidze told the media.

The group of US guests, which according to the Georgian Parliament’s press office includes assistants to three members of Congressional Georgia Caucus: Democratic Congresswoman Allyson Schwartz; Republican Congressman Bill Schuster and Republican Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart; as well as aides to Democratic Congressman Russ Carnahan; Republican Congressman Roscoe Bartlett and Democratic Congresswoman Jackie Speier are planning to meet more Georgian authorities as well as visit the IDPs affected by the August War 2008 before their departure on August 7.