Georgian Parliamentary Chairman Davit Usupashvili met with Senators and House Representatives in Washington before wrapping up his week-long visit to the United States – his first foreign trip abroad after becoming the parliament speaker last October.
Usupashvili, who was accompanied by two lawmakers from the Georgian Dream parliamentary majority Tedo Japaridze, the chairman of foreign affairs committee and Irakli Chikovani, who chairs Free Democrats parliamentary faction, held meetings with officials from the U.S. Department of State earlier this week.
His press office said that Usupashvili held series of meetings with U.S. lawmakers from both chambers of Congress, including Republican Senator John McCain and Democratic Senator Carl Levin. He also met House minority leader Nancy Pelosi and Democratic congressmen John Garamendi; Sander Levin; David Price; Ted Deutch and Jim McDermott. The Georgian MPs also held meetings with Republican congressmen Howard McKeon, who chairs House Armed Services Committee; Jeff Miller; Tom Marino; Steve Stockman; Mario Diaz-Balart, as well as Republican congresswoman Kay Granger.
“It was a very useful, productive and timely visit,” Usupashvili said, adding that there was “unwavering support” towards Georgia in the United States.
The Parliament Speaker said that one of his key messages to his interlocutors in the U.S. was “not to repeat the mistake” that was done after the Rose Revolution when, as he put it, “many thought that good people were in power” in Georgia and no intense scrutiny was required any more. He also raised this issue when speaking before the audience at the Carnegie Endowment think-tank on March 14 and said: “We are right people in power in Georgia, but we need your help, your scrutiny, your questions and criticism; it will only help us.”
Commenting on a meeting with Senator John McCain, one of five senators who sent a letter to PM Ivanishvili in December expressing concern over legal proceedings against former government officials, Usupashvili said that “Sen. McCain, like always, is ready to support Georgia, to give right advices to his old friends [reference to Georgia’s previous government] and to cooperate with new friends – Georgia’s new authorities.”