Embassy News 2014
Joint Statement of the U.S.-Georgia Strategic Partnership Commission Working Group on Democracy and Governance (April 25)
The U.S.-Georgia Strategic Partnership Commission's (SPC) Democracy and Governance Working Group met on April 25 in Tbilisi to review progress on goals set at the Working Group’s previous meeting in April 2013 in Tbilisi. Today’s meeting builds on a plenary session of the SPC held during the Prime Minister of Georgia’s February 2014 visit to Washington, DC, which also included a meeting with the President of the United States. The expansion of directly elected positions at the local level; the October 2013 presidential election; and judicial reforms resulting in the election of a new High Council of Justice; are among the recent positive steps demonstrating the continuing consolidation of Georgia’s democracy. The Working Group underscored continuing U.S. support for Georgia's democratic development, at a time when events in the region pose challenges.
The Working Group discussed Georgia's efforts to further strengthen democratic institutions, checks and balances, human rights for all, political pluralism and electoral processes, media freedom and access, rule of law and judicial independence, government accountability and due process, with a view toward Georgia's achievement of its European and Euro-Atlantic integration goals. The Working Group also addressed Georgia’s plans to cultivate a competitive electoral environment ahead of its local elections in June 2014 and its work to balance national security interests and civil liberties.
The Georgian delegation was led by co-chairs First Deputy Foreign Minister Davit Zalkaliani and Deputy Minister of Justice Gocha Lordkipanidze, and was comprised of members of the executive; the legislature, including majority and minority members; and the judiciary.
The U.S. delegation was led by co-chairs Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor Thomas O. Melia, and USAID Assistant Administrator for Europe and Eurasia, Paige Alexander and included the Department of Justice’s Regional Director for Eurasia, Catherine Newcombe.