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Education Minister Shashkin hosts US Atlantic Council

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Thursday, October 21
The visit of the Atlantic Council delegation is continuing in Georgia as the delegation's representatives held a meeting with the Georgian authorities on October 20. During the meeting, they attended a conference on the Euro-Atlantic Integration of Georgia: Role of International Society, where the Minister of Education of Georgia, Dimitri Shashkin held a presentation on Investment in Georgian Human Capital for the attendants.

“One of the main factors for the integration in the Euro-Atlantic area is the education system complying with European standards. Many resources have been spent on the modernization of this field. It’s necessary to give the youth an education of an international level in order to accept modern challenges in the process of globalization,” Shashkin stated.

For Georgia, the support of both US political parties, Democrats and Republicans, is equally significant, Georgian State Minister of Reintegration, Temur Iakobashvili stated after the meeting, “Meeting with the US Atlantic Council representatives was very important, as it consists of members of both democratic and republican parties. It is very important for the Georgian authorities to inform them on the ongoing reform and current situation of the country. Collaboration with both parties is very important for us, “Iakobashvili said.

The Council representatives, who also made comments after the meeting, stated that the international pressure on Russia should go on, “The international community should keep putting pressure on Russia as the main points of the 6 point ceasefire agreement still remain unfulfilled. Russia should leave the Georgian territories as soon as possible, “the Council member, Damon Wilson, stated.

Deputy US Ambassador to Georgia, Kent Logsdon, also touched upon Russian-Georgian and NATO relations, commenting that, “I welcome the withdrawal of Russian militarists from Perevi village and consider that to be the first positive step from the Russian side. As for Georgian- NATO relations, the upcoming NATO Lisbon Summit will reveal the future of NATO-Georgian relations,” Ligsdon said.

In addition to the supportive comments made inside the country, the United State continues to make pro-Georgian statements from America. The United States wants to see the return of the OSCE mission to Georgia - acting deputy assistant spokesman of the US Department of State, Marc C. Toner said at the official briefing on Tuesday, “I’ve seen the press reports and it was unclear from what I saw whether the withdrawal had been complete and at what stage it was at. Look, there are EU monitoring groups on the ground and that’s their role to look at this, to judge it, and to see if it, in fact, indicates that Russia is complying to the agreement that it signed with the Georgian president to end the conflict there. Obviously, we want to see a greater presence on the ground, the return of OSCE monitors, for example, in order to create safeguards on the ground that can help both monitor these kinds of developments and generally reduce tension, “ Toner said.

The US Atlantic Council representatives arrived in Georgia on October 17 and have already held several official meetings, with the opposition among them. After the visit, the council will write a report on present Georgian reality which will be presented to the American authorities.

As analyst Malkhaz Chemia told The Messenger, “Georgia should adhere to the international policy and come back to that position in the international chain, which we had prior to the August war period. Since that time, due to the Georgian authority’s hasty policy we have been dropped from the chain. The Georgian side should be very careful and avoid taking rash steps. Russia is part of the international community and sooner or later the international community, without any confrontation, will make Russia concede towards Georgia as well,” Chemia said.