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The USA supports Georgia’s sovereignty, says Daniel Fried

By Mzia Kupunia
Tuesday, October 21
The US’s support of Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, as well as its democratic development, was the main message given by US Assistant Secretary of State Daniel Fried during his visit to Georgia.

Fried, who represented the US at the Geneva talks last week, visited the areas affected by the August military actions in the Gori and Tskhinvali regions. Fried said the population of the Tskhinvali region is not secure. US Deputy Secretary of State promised to continue assisting the affected population.

“The United States will work to help these people, they need peace and security most of all right now. It is important that the EU observers are here. The USA is supporting Georgia within international organizations. What Georgia needs most of all right now is peace,” Fried said.

Despite his wish to do so, Daniel Fried was not able to enter Akhalgori, which is controlled by Russian forces. “We were not allowed to enter Akhalgori, and we visited only the territories we were able to enter. The people of the Tskhinvali region are living in very hard conditions, their security is not guaranteed, their houses have been damaged by looters,” Fried told journalists.

On the second day of his visit to Georgia Daniel Fried met representatives of the Parliamentary and non-Parliamentary opposition. Russian-Georgian relations were the main topic of Fried’s meeting with the Parliamentary opposition. He expressed his interest in the work of the Provisional Commission studying the August events, and recommended that MPs ask “bold” questions. “It was a very interesting and constructive meeting,” Fried said. The leader of the Parliamentary minority Christian Democratic Movement, Giorgi Targamadze, said “I am glad that the views of the Christian Democrats on the current issues related to restoring Georgia’s territorial integrity, economic development, unemployment, social problems, and Georgia’s further democratic development coincide with the general line of our friendly democratic states.”

The postwar crisis in Georgia and ways to resolve it were the focus of Fried’s meeting with the non-Parliamentary opposition. Speaking to journalists after this meeting, Fried said that he had met the “Patriots of Georgia.” Fried added that neither the USA, nor Russia or any other country is able to decide who should govern another country. “The Georgian people should elect their own Government,” Fried added, reiterating US support for Georgia’s democratic development.

The representatives of the non-Parliamentary opposition were positive about their meeting with the US Deputy Secretary of State. The opposition said that they had discussed the issues which had remained beyond the Government’s consideration. The non-Parliamentary opposition members also added that they raised the issue of the Georgian Government’s responsibility.

“Daniel Fried was absolutely reasonable about the ongoing processes in Georgia, he was very well-informed, we can count on his reactions,” Kakha Kukava from the Conservative Party said. David Usupashvili from the Republican Party, who also attended the meeting, said that in the worst moments of tension, Saakashvili did not take into consideration the advice of the US administration, including Danied Fried, that he should not start military action against Russia. According to Usupashvili, Fried’s assessments of the situation in the country were relevant.

“I hope the US administration will do its best to help Georgia to overcome this crisis,” David Usupashvili said after the meeting. Daniel Fried left for the USA after his visit to Georgia.