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US Ambassador meets Interior Minister

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Monday, September 26
The United States Ambassador to Georgia Ian Kelly met Georgia’s Minister of Internal Affairs Giorgi Mgebrishvili at the end of last week, where the duo mainly focused on Georgia’s October 8 Parliamentary Elections.

After the meeting, Kelly told the local media he was “impressed by Georgia’s peaceful pre-election environment”.

The Ambassador said “of course” some incidents also took place, but they were not significant and were timely addressed by the Government.

“During the meeting, I was informed in detail by the Minister about his body’s intentions for ensuring a safe and transparent election environment,” Kelly said.

Ambassador stressed he also had communications with other state officials and received “guarantees” that the forthcoming elections would be conducted in a “free, fair and safe environment”.

Minister Mgebrishvili spoke about the Memorandum of Understand signed between the Interior Ministry and Georgia’s Central Election Commission (CEC) about the cooperation for peaceful elections, as well as about a special decree issued by him envisaging police conduct in pre-election and election periods.

On another note, the sides discussed a proposed visit of a delegation from the Interior Ministry to Baltimore on September 30, where the US authorities planned to hand over Island class patrol vessel to Georgia’s border police.

Meanwhile, leading members of the Organisation for Security and Co-Operation in Europe Parliamentary Assembly (OSCE PA) election observation mission to the 8 October parliamentary elections in Georgia have concluded a three-day visit to the country.

“I’m pleased to see that Georgian politics are as active as ever, with a range of parties putting forward their platforms and competing for voters,” Sanchez Amor from OSCE PA said.

“Almost all those we met with, remarked that campaigning was more free and open than the previous parliamentary elections. I hope that this will continue, and our assessment of the elections will take close note of any developments,” he added.

OSCE parliamentarians will observe the upcoming parliamentary elections in Georgia and provide leadership for the OSCE’s short-term observer mission.

OSCE Chairperson-in-Office Frank-Walter Steinmeier has appointed Ignacio Sanchez Amor (MP, Spain) as Special Co-ordinator to lead the short-term OSCE observer mission for the 8 October vote. Guglielmo Picchi (MP, Italy) will serve as Head of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly delegation, which will include almost 40 observers from 17 OSCE participating states.