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Kaidanow discusses US-Georgia cooperation issues in Tbilisi

By Mzia Kupunia
Monday, September 13
The US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State on European and Eurasian Affairs, Tina Kaidanow, met the representatives of the Georgian government and the opposition during her official visit to Georgia on September 10-11. According to the officials, the aim of the visit was to make preparations for the annual meeting on US-Georgia Strategic Partnership Charter.

Kaidanow met the leaders of the Parliamentary and non-Parliamentary opposition parties – Giorgi Targamadze from the Christian Democratic Party and Irakli Alasania from Our Georgia-Free Democrats. Speaking to the journalists after the meeting, CDM’s Giorgi Targamadze said that the sides discussed several issues, including constitutional reform, elections and the importance of strengthening political parties' regional branches.

For the US it is important that the balance between the branches is guaranteed by the new constitution, Targamadze said “Kaidanow stressed that the US government will not interfere in the issue of what kind of governance system should be implemented in Georgia. For US, as a supporting state, it is important that the relations are balanced between the branches and none of them were able to take unilateral decisions,” he added.

According to Targamadze, the sides touched upon the issue of changing the election environment in the country. “Several political forces, including ourselves, are working on changing the electoral system. We hope that with the help of the international organizations we will soon have an opportunity to talk with the government on this issue,” the leader of the Christian-Democratic Party said, adding that at the meeting with the US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State “a lot of attention” was given to the issue of strengthening political parties’ structures, regional organizations and drawing up party programs, as well as enhancing the role of youth and women organizations in Georgia.

“This is a very important issue, because the political system in Georgia will not become healthy if we don’t get stronger,” Targamadze noted “Strong parties with strong supporters will result in a strong political system in Georgia and this is the guarantee of the country’s democratic development,” the opposition politician added.

Democratic development is the cornerstone of Georgia-US relations, the leader of the Our Georgia-Free Democrats, Irakli Alasania said after the meeting with the US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State. The problems of democracy in Georgia, the US-Georgia Strategic Partnership Charter and the ways of implementing it were the main subjects of the meeting, he said. “Georgia’s democratic development has become a cornerstone of the Georgia-US relations. I mean the establishment of strong democratic institutions and strengthening them, getting ready for the next elections so that they are held in a changed election environment and giving people a chance to democratically express their will,” Alasania stated, adding that the US is planning to allocate USD 30 million for strengthening democratic institutions in Georgia. “This is laid out in the US-Georgia Strategic Partnership Charter,” he noted.

The US-Georgia Strategic Partnership Charter was discussed at the meeting between Tina Kaidanow and the Deputy Foreign Minister of Georgia, Giga Bokeria. According to the Foreign Ministry press office, the sides talked about the preparation of the Strategic Charter annual meeting and a “wide range of issues” concerning the mutual cooperation between the two countries.