U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel escorts Georgian Defense Minister Irakli Alasania through an honor cordon at the Pentagon, May 7, 2014. U.S. Department of Defense photo: by Erin A. Kirk-Cuomo
U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel met with Georgian Defense Minister Irakli Alasania at the Pentagon on May 7.
"Secretary Hagel thanked Minister Alasania for Georgia's contributions to the International Security Assistance Force mission in Afghanistan, and he encouraged Georgia to continue the progress it has made on defense reform and NATO interoperability,” Pentagon readout of the meeting says.
“The two leaders also discussed the ongoing crisis in Ukraine. They reviewed the efforts by allies and partners in the region to reinforce our international commitments and to continue to apply diplomatic and economic pressure on Moscow.”
"Secretary Hagel reaffirmed the importance of the U.S. partnership with Georgia, and pledged to continue our strong defense cooperation," a Pentagon spokesman said.
Irakli Alasania said after the meeting that he had “very productive” talks with the U.S. Defense Secretary.
“We continue dialogue what steps the U.S. and Georgia should take in order to enhance Georgia’s security and defence capability. I’d like to outline that we have progress in this direction and this meeting once more confirms that strategic partnership in defence and security sphere between Georgia and USA is strengthening,” Alasania said.
The Georgian Ministry of Defense said that during the meeting Alasania “overviewed progress in Georgia’s defence transformation.”
“He emphasized on the reforms made in transparency, accountability, NATO BI [Building Integrity] program, as well as in parliamentary oversight and cooperation with NGOs, procurement transparency and internal audit. Secretary Hagel encouraged Georgia to continue the progress it has made on defense reform and NATO interoperability. He thanked Minister Alasania for Georgia's contributions to the International Security Assistance Force mission in Afghanistan,” the Georgian MoD said.
This is the second meeting of Alasania and Hagel at the Pentagon; the first one was held in August, 2013.