Donald Trump’s nominee for Ambassador to Georgia Kelly C. Degnan said if confirmed, she would “build on the productive partnership” that U.S. and Georgia have developed so far.
Degnan gave testimony to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on October 29, saying although she has not yet had a chance to visit Georgia, “the issues Georgia faces are not new” to her.
Kelly Degnan started her remarks by stressing the familiarity with the Georgian context, since she served in neighboring Turkey, when Russian army invaded Georgia in 2008.
“A year later I was in NATO headquarters, where Georgia was and is a valued partner. Allies have reaffirmed their 2008 pledge that Georgia will become a member of NATO during the last year’s Summit. During my three years at NATO I was always impressed by Georgia’s commitment to make reforms that were necessary for strengthening its military.
Perhaps because of its successes, Georgia still finds itself the target of destabilizing and destructive Russian actions. U.S. will continue to be a vocal advocate of Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognized borders.
The solution to this conflict which is a result of Russian aggression is for Russia to fulfill its obligations under the 2008 Ceasefire Agreement, including withdrawing its forces to pre-conflict positions, allowing humanitarian access and reversing its recognition of Abkhazia and South Ossetia”, - said Degnan.
She pledged to sustain U.S. efforts “to help the Georgian government and people, build a resilient, prosperous society that values its rich and diverse heritage and can withstand the pressures of Russian malign activities”.
Responding to Senator Mitt Romney’s question on how to better make evident the U.S. support towards Georgia against Russian invasion, Degnan said “we have demonstrated importance of continued vocal advocacy for Georgia’s territorial integrity and sovereignty and strong commitment to support Georgia as it makes reforms necessary to strengthen institutions to follow on the path it has chosen – to integrate into European Union and the West.”
Donald J. Trump announced his intent to nominate Kelly Colleen Degnan, native of California, as the new U.S. ambassador to Georgia. The position has remained vacant for year and half since Ambassador Ian C. Kelly completed his mission in March 2018.
Degnan, a career member of the Senior Foreign Service, in the diplomatic rank of Minister Counselor. Her prior diplomatic postings include Rome, Pristina, Ankara, Brussels and Khost, Afghanistan.