A bilateral working group on defense and security in frames of U.S.-Georgian strategic partnership charter was held in Tbilisi on April 23.
Led by Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Political Military Affairs Todd Chapman and Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Russia, Ukraine and Eurasia Evelyn Farkas, the U.S. delegation reiterated “strong bilateral partnership.”
Defense and security working group is one of those four inter-agency groups, which were established to address priority areas of the U.S.-Georgia Strategic Partnership Charter, signed in January, 2009. Other priority areas of cooperation identified by the charter are democracy, economic and people-to-people relations.
“The United States will continue to remain active in the region and to strengthen our defense and security relationship with Georgia under the umbrella of strategic partnership commission,” Farkas said after the meeting, where the Georgian side was represented by Deputy Foreign Minister Davit Dondua and Deputy Defense Minister Levan Girsiashvili.
The U.S. delegation reaffirmed the additional USD 20 million in security assistance to Georgia through the European Reassurance Initiative.
“The U.S. security assistance and military engagement with Georgia supports its defense reforms, trains and equips the Georgian troops and also trains them for participation in international operations and advances Georgia’s NATO interoperability,” said Todd Chapman U.S. Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Political Military Affairs.
“We were also able to discuss how to expand our cooperation in areas like maritime security, counter-narcotics and cyber crime,” he added.
U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Evelyn Farkas said that the U.S. will be actively involved in implementation of NATO’s substantial package of cooperation with Georgia, which was approved by the Alliance at its summit in Wales in September.
“The U.S. is providing a deputy that is overseeing implementation of NATO’s substantial package to Georgia and through our on the ground involvement we will ensure that NATO provides the proper implementation of the commitments” that were made by the Alliance at the Wales summit, she said.
She said that joint U.S.-Georgia military drills, Noble Partner, planned for next month at the Vaziani base outside Tbilisi, will be “the most robust” exercise that the United States has conducted with Georgia to date.
“It is a critical part of our [Georgia and the United States’] contributions to the NATO Response Force,” she added.
During the visit the U.S. delegation also held talks with the Georgian Defense Ministry leadership as part of regular bilateral defense consultations.