Commentary on the visit of US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo
First of all, it should be noted that this visit was not planned in advance. Besides us, Pompeo will visit France, Turkey, Israel and some monarchies of the Gulf. It is clear that the visit to us is directly related to the changed situation in the region and the agreement that Russia, Armenia and Azerbaijan signed yesterday. In such a situation, it is very important for the United States to have a reliable partner in the region. We are strategic partners, so Pompeo’s choice is clear. Another topic of the visit, as it turns out now, will be the topic of Iran. The American administration has raised this topic more than once in conversations with our government.
Of course, the topic of our political crisis and the situation in the country will also not remain outside the attention of the Secretary of State. To begin with, according to the Charter on Strategic Partnership between Georgia and the United States, the issues of democracy and fair elections are one of the key issues in our cooperation. And this directly concerns our elections. Let me remind you that recently we have repeatedly come under fire from criticism of American legislators, moreover, the US Congress even froze 20% of aid to us precisely because of problems with democracy. Today the authorities are trying to prove to us that this issue has been resolved, which is not true. In that document, a number of very important issues were raised regarding the rule of law, democratic institutions, corruption, the state of American business in Georgia and the holding of free, democratic elections.
The same issues were raised in the letters of senators and congressmen, who directly appealed to our authorities with an appeal to solve these problems. All the statements made by Secretary of State Pompeo to the Georgian leadership were quite clear and clear. We remember very well the statement on the port of Anaklia and that Russia and China are not friends of Georgia. The issues of democracy and free elections are not an abstract topic, this is the main condition for the preservation and development of our partnership. After all, all that we have in common with the United States is democratic values, and it is impossible to imagine a strategic partnership with the United States without the development of democratic institutions.
The United States openly and consistently supports Georgia’s course of integration with NATO. In the defense sphere, the United States provides Georgia with tremendous support. And with all this, our authorities are opening an air corridor for Russia for military transit to Karabakh, and explains to us why this was done not by a representative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs or the Ministry of Defense, but by the Prime Minister’s Special Representative for Relations with Russia Zurab Abashidze. In connection with the changed situation in the region, we have new risks, including the risk of an even greater reduction in democracy in the region. And the fact that the report on such a serious topic as Russian military transit is made not by Foreign Minister David Zalkaliani, but by Zurab Abashidze, testifies to very serious problems in our leadership.
We must think very seriously about the guarantees of our safety. It is clear that this should accelerate the process of Georgia’s integration into NATO, but one should not forget about such an important element as an increase in the US military presence in Georgia. Georgia has no other alternative, and the policy of concessions to the Russian Federation does not guarantee our security, but on the contrary increases the risks. We have two clear goals – NATO and EU membership. The achievement of one goal guarantees the safety of the citizens of Georgia, and the second guarantees their well-being.
Teona Akubardia, GSAC