Minister of Defence of Georgia Levan Izoria met with the Secretary of Defence of the United States of America, James Mattis in the framework of his official visit to the United States of America. The Georgian and U.S. counterparts discussed bilateral cooperation issues in defence sphere and regional security issues after official ceremony held in the Pentagon. Levan Izoria thanked the Secretary of Defence for the political and practical support of Georgia from the United States of America.
James Mattis commended the ongoing defence reforms in Georgia: “As we look to the future, the U.S. strongly supports Georgia’s devotion to strengthening and modernizing its military capabilities with 2.2% of your GDP dedicated to defense spending. This shows your commitment to your military defense. Your military reforms are well-tuned to significantly improve the Georgian military’s increasing effectiveness, and we endorse them.”
U.S. Secretary of Defence expressed appreciation for Georgia’s contribution to the mission in Afghanistan: “We recognize your nation as the largest per capita and non-NATO force contributor to the mission. With 871 troops continuously deployed, Georgia is an example for all.” Georgia’s Defence Minister reiterated Georgia’s commitment to continue participation in the mission alongside the United States.
James Mattis recalled the words of Vice President Pence said during his visit to Tbilisi this summer - “America stands with Georgia.” “This commitment is underpinned by our nations’ shared values of sovereignty, territorial integrity, and respect for the rules-based international order”, - Mattis said.
Bilateral cooperation issues and ways of strengthening defence capabilities were also discussed at the meeting. According to Levan Izoria, Georgia appreciates the U.S. support in Georgia Defence Readiness Program that will start in 2018 and contribute to resilience of the country and strengthen military capabilities of Georgia.
U.S. Secretary of Defence wished happy St. George Day to the Georgian people: “We meet this week as our two countries prepare for celebratory feasts next Thursday – St. George’s day in Georgia and Thanksgiving here. I wish your nation a very happy holiday in honor of your patron saint – immortalized as a defender of the Georgian people.”
In the framework of the visit Defence Ministry Delegation will have meetings with the Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs Herbert Raymond McMaster and Senator Lindsay Graham.