Vashadze Meets Clinton
By Messenger Staff
Wednesday, September 28On September 26, US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton and Foreign Minister Vashadze had a 25 minute meeting where they discussed Georgia-Russia WTO talks, a planned increase of Georgian troops in Afghanistan, and upcoming elections in Georgia.
“The bulk of that meeting was spent discussing the Swiss effort to mediate between Russia and Georgia with regard to issues outstanding in Russia’s application to join the World Trade Organization. And as she did with Foreign Minister Lavrov last week, the Secretary urged Foreign Minister Vashadze to make the most of the Swiss mediation proposal and to try to make progress to close the gaps when the delegations meet in the next week and a half,” a State Department official stated.
According to official information, the sides also discussed Afghanistan, where Georgia is on its way to becoming the largest non-NATO troop contributor. The Secretary thanked Foreign Minister Vashadze and Georgia for the recent commitment of an extra battalion of Georgian troops for Afghanistan, which will bring the Georgian total to 1,700. They also talked at some length about medical care and support that the U.S. is providing for Georgian soldiers wounded in combat in Afghanistan, and U.S. military support for Georgian forces there.
The final issue in the meeting was the Secretary’s emphasis on Georgia's elections, and the need for free, fair, and transparent voting in Georgia. Both Georgian Foreign Minister Vashadze and National Security Advisor Giga Bokeria stressed that Georgia intends to make a qualitative leap forward in the quality of its elections and thanked the US for the help it provides through the international NGOs, IRI and NDI, to continue to improve the Georgian election process.