President Saakashvili said in televised remarks shortly after his joint news conference with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, that there had been three “very important messages” from the United States.
“First, key components of [U.S. assistance] for strengthening Georgia’s self-defense capabilities and that is very important,” he said.
“Second, the United States have recognized [status neutral travel] documents, which we have issued for our compatriots living in Abkhazia and Tskhinvali Region; until now these documents were recognized only by some Baltic states and Japan; now the United States has also recognized it and it means that many others will follow the suit. It will allow our compatriots [in breakaway Abkhazia and South Ossetia] not to take forcefully [imposed] Russian passports and instead travel throughout the world with the documents issued by the Georgian state; it is a huge diplomatic support from the U.S. administration,” he said.
Georgia introduced, what it calls, neutral travel documents and identification cards for those living in breakaway Abkhazia and South Ossetia in an attempt to allow holders of those documents to travel abroad and enjoy various social services and benefits available in the rest of Georgia. Sokhumi and Tskhinvali, which have slammed these documents, said that Georgia’s neutral travel documents were in fact pushing these two regions into further isolation. While welcoming introduction of these documents, the European Union has also called on Tbilisi that neutral travel documents “should not be the only means of travel for these populations until they are more widely accepted by them.”
Saakashvili said that the third important message was the U.S. readiness to closely monitor Georgia’s parliamentary elections in October.
“And the third [message] was that they will send maximum number of real observers – not false observers, who were arriving from various parts [of the world], but real observers,” Saakashvili said. “I think, congressmen, senators will arrive, as well as members of the European Parliament – those people, who cannot be bribed, who cannot be blackmailed and who will say that Georgia held - as we plan and I hope it will be so – fair, transparent elections, acceptable for everyone, and who will not allow those willing to stir up situation from outside to use various provocations for derailing Georgia from the right path,” Saakashvili said.
He also said that “very concrete” proposals have been announced during the visit of the U.S. Secretary of State, which “means that we are on the right path.”
Secretary of Georgia’s National Security Council Giga Bokeria hailed Clinton’s visit as “extremely successful and very important” for Georgia and “for strategic relationship between our two countries.”
He said that as the visit resulted into taking “concrete steps in the field of security and defense” cooperation, aimed at “increasing our self-defense capabilities”. He also stressed on importance of high-level trade dialogue with the United States, which was opening up an opportunity for a possible free trade agreement with the U.S.