So, first of all, I want to thank Ambassador Degnan and his whole team for the welcome here in Georgia. I would also like to thank all the Georgian people and the interlocutors whom I met today and will meet later for their warm welcome. This is my first time to Georgia and I’m just overwhelmed with the welcome. Thanks.
I’m from Washington DC. My name is Kara McDonald. I serve as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, and I bring a message of deep United States commitment, deep United States investment in supporting the democratic future and democratic aspirations of Georgia. These are aspirations that we believe represent the Euro-Atlantic agenda. They represent stability, peace and prosperity, and the path to these aspirations is clear. It represents hard work. Much has been done. We feel part of that. We feel invested in the fact that a lot has been accomplished, but there is still a lot of hard work to do. Here in Parliament, I met the President, the Head of Legal Affairs and the Human Rights Committee. I meet with a wide cross-section of civil society with the media, opposition and other activists to get the full picture of the challenges we face here as well as the work ahead. We had broad and productive conversations on democratic development, on electoral reform, on judicial reform and, fundamentally, on how to support what Georgians want, namely integration into the EU and the NATO. I also carried a message from Washington very concerned about Georgia’s democratic trajectory. And my visit comes at a time of unprecedented global challenges – with Putin’s unprovoked and unwarranted reinvasion of Ukraine – something Georgia itself unfortunately knows very well. But I also come at a time of unique opportunity for Georgia that comes with it. And my message is: Don’t waste this opportunity. Unite around what the Georgian people, what you all have expressed, that is to say the integration into the EU and NATO. There are many allies in this work. I mentioned the members of civil society that I met. I also met with the public defender’s office. There are many allies in the international community, in your own community, and the United States remains very engaged. We remain attached to you. Thanks a lot.