U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry arrived in Tbilisi early on Wednesday afternoon for talks with the Georgian leadership and some opposition leaders.
From Tbilisi Kerry will head to Ukraine on July 7 and then to Warsaw for participation in the NATO summit on July 8-9.
After meeting with Georgian PM Giorgi Kvirikashvili, the Secretary of State will co-chair U.S.-Georgia Strategic Partnership Commission meeting on July 6 to discuss priority areas – democracy, defense and security, economic, trade and energy issues, and people-to-people and cultural exchanges – identified in the bilateral strategic partnership charter, signed in 2009.
The Georgian PM’s office said without elaborating specifics that “memorandum of cooperation” will be signed during the visit.
The Associated Press reported that the new joint security arrangement will boost U.S. training and equipment supplies to Georgian security forces.
Reuters reported citing a senior State Department official that the memorandum of understanding on security and defense would promise to bolster Georgia’s ability to defend itself.
Senior Pentagon and State Department officials told the U.S. Senate foreign affairs committee hearing on June 7 that in its security assistance programs with Georgia the U.S. will be making more focus in helping the country to increase its self-defense capabilities.
In Tbilisi the U.S. Secretary of State will also meet President Giorgi Margvelashvili and Foreign Minister Mikheil Janelidze.
He will also meet leaders of opposition UNM and Free Democrats parties.
The U.S. Department of State said that in Tbilisi John Kerry will discuss the U.S. “support for Georgia’s Euro-Atlantic aspirations and successful elections in October.”
John Kerry previously visited Tbilisi in December, 2008, when he was a Senator.
The previous time when U.S. Secretary of State visited Georgia was in June 2012, when the post was held by Hillary Clinton.