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US congressmen visit Georgia

By Ana Robakidze
Monday, February 25
Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili hosted congressmen from the United States in his business center on February 21st. At the official dinner the congressmen expressed their positive attitude to the new government and wished the Prime Minister and his government success. They also expressed their desire to deepen the friendly relations between Georgia and the U.S. The Prime Minister informed the congressmen about the current situation in Georgia and the future plans of his government.

U.S. Ambassador to Georgia Richard Norland also attended the dinner. He passed along a letter to the Prime Minister from former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.

In the letter Clinton emphasized the important achievements Georgia has made in its democratic development and towards Euro-Atlantic integration.

"As I prepare to complete my tenure as Secretary of State, I wanted to let you know that it has been an honor and a pleasure to watch you and your colleagues lead Georgia through a historic transfer of power and an unprecedented period of cohabitation. I am very proud of the progress the United States and Georgia have made in strengthening the bonds of partnership between our countries and in advancing the full range of our shared interests. I am confident that these bonds will remain strong." Hilary Clinton wrote in her letter.

The congressmen also visited the Ministry of Defence and were hosted by Deputy Defense Minister of Georgia Levan Dolidze. The issues of enhanced defence cooperation as part of the US-Geo Charter on Strategic Partnership and Georgia’s continued participation in the international mission in Afghanistan were discussed at the meeting.

"This was a very important stop in our visit to gain understanding of what is going on here in Georgia and communicate with the new government. We needed to talk to the various players to understand what we can expect from Georgia in the future." declared Dana Rohrabacher, Chair of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs and the Subcommittee on Europe, Eurasia and Emerging Threats. Adding that the first and foremost aim of the meeting with Georgia's military leadership was to express the appreciation of people of the United States for the bravery and courage shown by Georgian soldiers fighting side by side with Americans in Afghanistan.

"That is very deeply appreciated in the United States. We also want to represent our commitment to working with the military here in Georgia to make sure that the military is capable of preserving the peace." Rohrabacher added.

The congressmen also held a meeting with the Chairman of Parliament Davit Usupashvili. The meeting took place on February 23rd and was closed to the media.

After the meeting Usupashvili briefly commented that the issues discussed included Georgia's foreign policy, as well as Georgia's participation in the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) mission in Afghanistan. Usupashvili also revealed that he will pay an official visit to Washington in the near future.