The U.S. Department of State will host meetings of the U.S.-Georgia Strategic Partnership Commission Working Groups for Defense and Security; People-to-People and Cultural Exchanges; and Economic, Energy, and Trade December 9-13, 2013. The Strategic Partnership Commission working groups offer a forum to advance the broad and continued partnership between the United States and Georgia and will take place following Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland’s successful visit to Georgia December 6.
The Defense and Security Working Group will be led by Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Political-Military Affairs Gregory M. Kausner and Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Evelyn Farkas on December 9. First Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Davit Zalkaliani and Deputy Minister of Defense Mikheil Darchiashvili will be the Georgian co-chairs. The working group will discuss enhanced bilateral defense cooperation, Georgia’s commitment to security in Afghanistan, NATO membership, Georgia’s Euro-Atlantic integration, continued borderization along Georgia’s administrative boundary lines, U.S. support for Georgia’s territorial integrity and sovereignty, and international security efforts.
On December 12, the People-to-People and Cultural Exchanges Working Group will be led by Deputy Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs Mark Toner and U.S. Agency for International Development Deputy Assistant Administrator for Europe and Eurasia Jonathan Hale, joined by the Georgian First Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Davit Zalkaliani and Deputy Minister of Labor, Health, and Social Affairs Mariam Jashi. Discussions will focus on promoting greater cooperation in the areas of educational and cultural exchanges between the United States and Georgia, Georgia’s engagement with its occupied territories, English language education programs, implementation of Georgia’s second MCC compact, public health research and other scientific collaboration, and cooperation on consular issues.
The Economic, Energy, and Trade Working Group will be led by Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary for Economic and Business Affairs Robert Manogue, and Skip Jones, Executive Director for Europe and Eurasia Global Markets at the U.S. Department of Commerce: International Trade Administration on December 13. The Georgian delegation will be led by First Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Davit Zalkaliani and Deputy Minister of Economic and Sustainable Development Mikheil Janelidze. The working group will explore trade delegation visits and discuss deepening bilateral trade and investment through a range of options including agriculture, protection of intellectual property rights, energy security and supply diversification, infrastructure development, and support for Georgia’s efforts to increase regional trade and transportation.
The U.S.-Georgia Charter on Strategic Partnership was signed by U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Georgian Minister of Foreign Affairs Grigol Vashadze in Washington, D.C., January 9, 2009. The first meeting of the Strategic Partnership Commission, held in Washington, D.C., June 22, 2009, launched four bilateral working groups on priority areas identified in the Charter: democracy; defense and security; economic, trade, and energy issues; and people-to-people and cultural exchanges. Senior-level American and Georgian policy-makers have led subsequent meetings of each of the working groups to review commitments, update activities, and establish future objectives. For more information, please visit: http://www.state.gov/p/eur/ci/gg/usgeorgiacommission/index.htm.