Foreign Minister Panjikidze visits Washington
By Ana Robakidze
Monday, December 3
Georgian Foreign Minister, Maia Panjikidze, paid her first visit to the United States. Within the visit to the U.S., which ended on November 30th, Panjikidze held a series of meetings with representatives of the U.S. State Department, as well as gave interviews to local media outlets.
"It is very important visit, as a representative of the new Georgian Government. In addition to the meeting with Clinton, I held meetings with congressmen, senators and experts working on Georgian issues," Panjikidze told Georgian journalists in Washington.
On the 29th of November 2012, Panjikidze met with the U.S. Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton.
“Ms Panjikidze emphasized the new government's commitment to the country's democratic development, to the rule of law and to the transparency of its justice system. Mrs. Clinton reaffirmed the American Government's unequivocal support for Georgia's sovereignty and territorial integrity. Special attention was also paid to the importance of the Geneva Discussions,” the MFA’s official page informs.
“I’m delighted to welcome the new Georgian Foreign Minister here to Washington. This is the 20th anniversary of our diplomatic relations and we are very much looking forward to continuing to work closely with the Georgian Government and the Georgian people. The parliamentary election in October was a successful and an important step in the further development of democracy in Georgia and the move toward fulfilling the Euro-Atlantic aspirations that Georgia has.” Clinton told journalist before the meeting.
Panjikidze said that she was very grateful for the Secretary of State for inviting her to Washington. She also mentioned that Georgia is very proud to have the United States as a strategic partner.
Clinton expressed her gratitude for Georgia's contribution to the NATO-led international peacekeeping mission in Afghanistan (ISAF). She hopes that the NATO ministerial meeting in Brussels would once again recognize the progress which Georgia has made.
Mnistry of Foreign affairs reports thatthe two emphasized the importance of bilateral co-operation within the framework of the U.S-Georgia Strategic Partnership Charter.
Apart from the future partnership, Panjikidze and Clinton also discussed some of Georgia's internal policy issues on the meeting.
Clinton and Panjikidze had "a very good meeting." Victoria Nuland, spokesperson for the Department of State said at the briefing. When she was asked about the recent arrests in Georgia, the spokesperson replied that Clinton has made it clear in her public statements earlier that “this is something that the international community is watching” and during the meeting “the Secretary was very clear about our rule of law expectations.”
From the U.S., the Georgian Foreign Minister traveled to Mexico to attend the inauguration of new President Enrique Pena Nieto. Panjikidze will also attend the NATO ministerial in Brussels on December 4-5. Later, the minister will travel to Dublin to participate in the meeting of the Council of Foreign Ministers of the OSCE member countries.