U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary Visits Tbilisi

Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili has hosted in the Government Chancellery Erika Olson, newly-appointed U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State overseeing policy for Southern Europe and the Caucasus, who arrived in Tbilisi earlier today.

As reported by the PM’s press service, at the meeting which focused on the security environment in the Black Sea and the South Caucasus regions, Irakli Garibashvili stressed that the strong U.S.-Georgia strategic partnership is the key to the shared interests of both nations and regional and Euro-Atlantic security.

The Prime Minister also pointed out that Georgia remains a loyal and reliable ally of the U.S. in the region, according to the same report.

PM Garibashvili’s press service also reported, that the Prime Minister expressed hopes concrete steps will be taken in the nearest future to start the implementation of the NATO Bucharest Summit decision, which stipulates that Georgia will become a member of the Alliance.

The meeting comes amid politically volative situation in Georgia in the aftermath of local election runoffs of October 30, and 35th day of hunger strike of imprisoned former President Mikheil Saakashvili. Opposition plans large-scale rally on November 6 in downtown Tbilisi to protest against “void” runoffs and for the release of Saakashvili.

“The Prime Minister singled out the importance of political stability in Georgia, also underlining that, now that the recent elections are over, it is crucial to concentrate on the agenda of the country’s development,” the PM’s press service noted.

U.S. Ambassador to Georgia Kelly Degnan and Georgian Vice Prime Minister, Foreign Minister David Zalkaliani also attended the meeting in the Government Chancellery.

The Deputy Assistant Secretary arrived in Tbilisi from Yeravan. The U.S. Embassy in Georgia reported that in the Georgian capital she will also meet with representatives from across the political spectrum.

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