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John Kerry to visit Georgia

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Thursday, April 25
Foreign Minister of Georgia, Maia Panjkidze, met with the US Secretary of State, John Kerry, in Strasbourg, within the NATO ministerial, on April 24. The meeting was introductory and the sides touched upon the various issues. Panjikidze stated that Kerry accepted her invitation to Georgia. However, a concrete date for his arrival to Georgia has not been agreed upon yet.

“We did not discuss the Georgian prime-minister’s future visit to the United States. It was the first meeting and the major topics were related to Georgian-US relations,” Panjikidze said, adding that Kerry expressed interest concerning the ongoing processes in Georgia.

According to Panjikidze, the US State Secretary “highly assessed” Georgia’s integration process to Euro-Atlantic structures.

“Implementation of the U.S.-Georgia strategic partnership charter was also discussed,” Panjikidze said.

More detailed information connecting the meeting was delivered by Archil Gegeshidze, Georgia’s ambassador to the US. Gegeshidze emphasized that Kerry “did not express satisfaction concerning negative relations between Georgian and Russia.”

According to Gegeshidze Kerry felt to be the supporter of improving the relations between Georgia and the Russian Federation.

“The sides also touched upon the Geneva talks and discussed how the talks might be more fertile. His( Kerry)tone reflected that negative relations between Georgia and Russia is unprofitable for the situation and that he is eager to somehow lighten the dark colors in the attitudes,” Gegeshidze said.

Gegeshidze stressed that Kerry was well-informed regarding ongoing Georgian issues. However, many questions were asked and Panjikidze provided complete information concerning the questions, Gegeshidze admitted.

Panjikidze also meet with James Appathurai, NATO Secretary General’s Special Representative for the Caucasus and Central Asia, in Strasburg. The Georgian foreign minister stated that Georgia will take part in the ISAF mission after 2014. However, it will be a different mission as after 2014, the NATO format in Afghanistan changes.

“We will continue our participation in the new format,” Panjikidze said.

Appathurai thanked Georgia for its merit in the mission and emphasized that for the near future NATO will specify the details of the mission.

“I hope that Georgia will be a participant of the process,” Appathurai stated, adding that Georgia’s definite pro-West course and reforms ongoing at the ministry of defence will make the country closer to the NATO standards.

Concerning the meetings US ambassador to Georgia, Richard Norland, highlighted that it is a process through which a new Georgian government introduces itself to the world.