Georgia's Foreign Minister Tamar Beruchashvili met with the Vice-President of United States (US) Joseph Biden as part of her official visit to the US yesterday.
Beruchashvili participated in a meeting of Foreign Ministers of Eastern European countries with Vice-President Biden.
The main topics of the discussion were the ongoing crisis in Ukraine, relations with Russia and the situation in Georgia, following Russia’s recent destructive actions involving Georgia’s occupied territories.
"The United States once again reaffirmed its support towards Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. Strengthening the United States’ involvement in the security and development of the region was also emphasized,” Minister Beruchashvili said after the meeting.
"In addition, it was important that the United States and the European Union (EU) once again confirmed their common position on all the issues related to Russia and stressed the importance of continuing imposing sanctions on Russia until a certain result is achieved,” she said.
Another topic she discussed with Biden was energy security in Europe.
"We discussed the southern corridor projects and the important interest of the USA and the EU on this. It was also noted that the EU and US should increase its assistance to the countries who declared their European and Euro-Atlantic choice. Focus was drawn to Georgia as a successful reformer country, which despite some difficulties, has openly declared this choice,” she said.
According to Beruchashvili, the sides also discussed the upcoming Eastern Partnership Summit, to be held in Riga in May 2015.
"We talked about concrete support and results which related to the signing of the Association Agreement (AA). It was noted that Georgia successfully completed the first phase of the visa liberalisation process. Another message was that the countries who have signed the AA should receive maximum support from the US and the EU. It is important that the US expressed its support in every direction,” she said.
"We will continue meetings at the State Department and Congress and I hope that Georgia gets adequate support from its most important partner, the US,” Beruchashvili noted.
Within her visit to America, Minister Beruchashvili was also interviewed by the Washington Bureau of the Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberity (RFE/RL), where she talked about the threats coming from Russia.
She warned that Russia could annex Georgia’s breakaway region of Tskhinvali (South Ossetia) as it did Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula.
"[Russia's] next move is on [South] Ossetia. There are signals that the Crimea-like scenario could be repeated and South Ossetia could be annexed. South Ossetia could hold a referendum as Crimea did in March that would be used to show that the local population wants to join Russia. That can be well organised, it's not a problem for Russia," she said.
She also noted Russia continued to make "destructive moves," including signing the so-called Alliance and Integration treaty with Georgia's other breakaway region Abkhazia.
Beruchashvili said the substance of that agreement would involve "more integration" with Russia than a strategic pact signed by Russia and Abkhazia’s self-styled government in November, which aimed to strengthen Moscow's economic and military ties with Georgia's breakaway region.
While discussing the crisis in Ukraine, Beruchashvili said Georgia had imposed sanctions against some of the same individuals blacklisted by the EU over Russia’s annexation of Crimea and the deadly violence in Kiev's Independence Square in February.
She said Tbilisi could impose other Ukraine-related sanctions as well, including visa bans.