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Georgian Ambassador: Obama-Saakashvili Talks 'to Elevate Ties to New Level'
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 30 Jan.'12 / 01:29

A meeting between the U.S. and Georgian Presidents at the White House on January 30 will "elevate our relations between the two countries to a new level," Georgia's ambassador to the United States, Temur Yakobashvili, said on Sunday.

"This is very important for our country, especially against the background of political reality in which we are now, I mean developments taking place around us," he told the Georgian Public Broadcaster's weekly program, Accents, on January 29.

He said "there are lots of issues" on the agenda, which would be raised during the meeting between the two Presidents mainly involving four areas - political, economic, security and democracy.

"We have our concrete proposals, as well as achievements in respect of all these four areas," said Yakobashvili, who is the ambassador in Washington since February, 2011.

Like secretary of National Security Council, Giga Bokeria, the Georgian ambassador too said when asked about President Obama's reservation over a section of the U.S. National Defense Authorization Act, which calls for sale of defensive arms to Tbilisi, that this reservation was "a pure legal issue" about constitutional authorities of legislative and executive branches and it should not be interpreted as if the Obama administration was against deepening defense cooperation with Georgia.

"We have been assured by representatives of the U.S. administration, that those remarks [made by President Obama in his signing statement over some sections of defense authorization act] were not about Georgia whatsoever," Yakobashvili said.

"I want to assure you that the U.S-Georgia relations, including in security issues, will be elevated to the new level," he said.

"Security issues involve not only sale of arms - that's one of the components and I think that we will have a progress in this direction too; but there are other components as well, which are more important than issue of sale or purchase of arms, and these issues are about guarantees of our security, including such political issues like integration into NATO, bilateral military relations, which of course is not limited only with sale of arms, there is a whole set of other issues," the Georgian ambassador said.

He said that the U.S. "is a staunch supporter of Georgia", including to its NATO aspiration, adding that this support now was "exactly the same" as it was during the Bush administration.

On democracy, Yakobashvili said: "What we hear from our American partners is that they are very seriously satisfied with the transformation that is taking place in Georgia."

"In this process it is important for us that every next election... to be of higher standard than the previous one - that's part of our national interest, which coincides with the national interests of the United States."

He said that "another aspect of democratization" was the fact that Georgia "is really considered to be the best example of democratic transformation over the last decade."

"What Georgia has managed to accomplish over last eight years is exemplary; if someone thinks that democracy is only about one election, that's wrong; democracy is a process and in this process Georgia has many issues it can be very proud of," Yakobashvili said.

Apart of the meeting with the U.S. President, during his visit Mikheil Saakashvili is also scheduled to meet dozens of leading Democratic and Republican members of Congress, as well as media and other opinion leaders in Washington,  according to the Georgian government's English-language weekly online newsletter

On Tuesday, Saakashvili is expected to speak at the launch of World Bank study entitled Fighting Corruption in Public Services - Chronicling Georgia’s Reforms. On Wednesday, he will talk about Post-Revolutionary Societies and What Comes After the Arab Spring at the U.S. Institute of Peace.

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