Question about the event
Ambassador Degnan: I am very happy to be here for the opening of the expanded Pace Terminal here at Poti Seaport. This is a huge achievement for Georgia, as well as for US-Georgia cooperation. The United States supported this project through a $50 million loan through the International Development Finance Corporation, so we are very pleased to see the project open now. The Pace Group has Georgian and American shareholders, so it’s really a success story for Georgia and America. The expanded port doubles the cargo capacity for this location, and it is a great opportunity for Georgia to realize its goal of becoming an East-West hub, moving cargo from Central Asia to Europe via Georgia. and ports like Poti. So again, the United States is very happy to be a part of this. This is an example of the many projects the Development Finance Corporation has supported here in Georgia over the past 20 years, and we are very excited to see this expansion that will result in good jobs for the people of San Murillo, and we hope even more opportunities for this port to develop further.
Question on the resolution in favor of Ukraine
Ambassador Degnan: This is an important time for all of our countries, and it is a time when we are united in sending clear messages to Russia that we will uphold the European security principles that have maintained Europe’s stability and prosperity for over 30 years. I think the messages from Georgia, Ukraine, NATO allies, the United States have been pretty clear that we will stand united and resist the crisis that Russia is trying to create here. It is truly a crisis that Russia has created and an effort to overturn 30 years of stability and prosperity through the threat of force. Regarding your second question on the resolution: I have not seen the draft, but I think it is very positive that the opposition parties and the party in power have negotiated the text to which everyone can subscribe, because it it must be a strong resolution that sends a clear message of George’s support for European security principles and for Ukraine at a very tense time. I’m sure the result will be something Georgians can be proud of.
Question on the President’s Reconciliation Initiative
Ambassador Degnan: Georgians have seen in recent years how crippling deep polarization is for this country. Thus, many things have not been able to move forward, despite the challenges facing the country like COVID and economic recovery. So I think any initiative designed to reduce polarization, bring society together, and heal that society is very positive. And I understand that’s what President Zurabishvili is really trying to do with her initiative. I therefore hope that it will benefit from the cooperation and contribution of different sectors of society in a large-scale effort to reduce the polarization that this country faces.