Nov 20, 2010

Barack Obama and Micheil Saakashvili hold meeting in Lisbon

Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili and U.S. President Barack Obama have held their first ever bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the NATO summit in Lisbon.

The leaders talked behind closed doors about the two countries` strategic partnership, Tbilisi`s NATO aspirations, and the U.S. reset with Russia. One of the main issues of the agenda was Georgian soldiers` engagement in the Afghan operation.

Georgian president thanked his American counterpart for support to Georgia`s sovereignty and territorial integrity. Barack Obama said the U.S. continues supporting Georgia`s aspirations to Euro Atlantic structures.

"I am very contented with the meeting. At the meeting, the president made extremely supportive statement on reforms in Georgia. He praised the democratic and economic reforms carried out in Georgia and demonstrated good awareness of details of the situation. He once again emphasized the support to our territorial integrity as well as their continuing work on this issue and the support on the way that would take us to NATO membership. As you know, Ukraine said, they do not want the enter NATO so quickly at this stage There was a danger that the issue Ukraine and Georgia might have been downgraded, but nothing similar happened. Actually, Georgia was marked in a separate paragraph. NATO praised Georgia`s political democratic and security reforms and supported Georgia on its way to NATO", Saakashvili said after the meeting.

Along with Barack Obama, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton also attended the meeting. From the Georgian side, Foreign Minister Grigol Vashadze, Deputy Foreign Minister Giga Bokeria, Reintegration Minister Temur Iakobashvili and Deputy Interior Minister Eka Zghuladze were also participating in the talks.

The U.S. president held one of his first meetings with Mikheil Saakashvili when arriving in Lisbon. Ahead to the meeting, Obama met with Afghan President Hamid Karzai. The Georgian delegation considers it as a significant fact, as the U.S. president plans to meet the Russian president only after that. Obama-Medvedev meeting is scheduled for Saturday, November 20