Georgian Ambassador David Bakradze has appeared before the U.S. Senators

On 7 March Georgian Ambassador to the United States David Bakradze spoke at the United States Senate Committee of Appropriations. The haring aimed to broaden the understanding of Russia’s policies and intentions toward specific countries in Europe.

David Bakradze spoke about the Russian invasion of Georgia in 2008 and its consequences: “I am here today to remind you that before Ukraine, Georgia was invaded in 2008 and 20% of our country remains under Russian occupation. Despite ongoing Russian aggression, with the support of the United States, Georgia has made tremendous strides in strengthening democratic institutions, fostering economic development and solidifying an irreversible path towards European and Euro-Atlantic integration”.

According to David Bakradze, the conflict that started in the early 90s reached its peak in 2008 with the Russian invasion of Georgia and occupation of our territories as the international community failed to effectively respond to early warning signs. The Ambassador reminded the U.S. officials that Russia began installing razor wire fences and other artificial obstacles along the occupation line in 2009 and that the total length of the trenches across both occupation lines is approximately 100 km. 

The Georgian Ambassador focused on Russia’s persistent efforts to undermine Georgian sovereignty and territorial integrity. According to him, since regaining its independence, Georgia has been subject to different forms of unconventional, hybrid warfare aimed to derail Georgia’s European and Euro-Atlantic integration aspirations. David Bakradze, in this context, spoke extensively about the Government’s efforts to ensure that the Georgian people continue to strongly support further integration with the EU and NATO.
 
According to Ambassador Bakradze, while advancing its Euro-Atlantic integration, Georgia remains firmly committed to the peaceful resolution of the conflict and to constructive negotiations in the international format. He said that Georgia values America’s support in this regard. David Bakradze thanked the American congressmen and senators for their frequent visits to the occupation line.

“Despite Russia’s vicious efforts, Georgia has persisted on its path toward democratic progress and economic growth. Georgia, as the most reliable, democratic ally of the US in a tough neighborhood, has been a great example of American tax-payers’ money wisely spent.
We believe the new administration will soon develop a comprehensive long-term engagement strategy for the region and Georgia, which will include the strengthening of Georgia’s territorial integrity and sovereignty, improving bilateral trade and the investment relationship, and supporting the democratic choice of the Georgian people to integrate with Euro-Atlantic institutions” – David Bakradze said.

The hearing at the Foreign Operations and Related Programs Appropriations Subcommittee of the Committee on Appropriations was held at the initiative of Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) who paid a visit to Georgia on 1 and 2 January. Along with the Georgian Ambassador, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin, Polish Ambassador Piotr Wilczek, Latvian Ambassador Andris Teikmanis, Lithuanian Ambassador Rolandas Krisciunas and Estonian Ambassador  Eerik Marmei also appeared as co-speakers at the hearing.