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Immediate Release

Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III's Visit to Georgia

Press Secretary John F. Kirby provided the following readout:

Secretary Austin met separately with Georgian Defense Minister Juansher Burchuladze and Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili.  In both meetings, the Secretary discussed the regional security situation and, in particular, the threat posed by Russia to Georgia and Black Sea region.  The Secretary conveyed unwavering U.S. support for Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.  He also reaffirmed the Department’s commitment to maintaining close bilateral security cooperation and helping Georgia further develop its defense capacity and advance its Euro-Atlantic aspirations.  Secretary Austin expressed gratitude for Georgia’s outsized contributions to the U.S. and NATO efforts to bring security and stability to Afghanistan.

Following their meeting, Secretary Austin and Minister Burchuladze signed a Memorandum of Understanding on the new Georgia Defense and Deterrence Enhancement Initiative.  This initiative will serve as the focal point of U.S.-Georgia security cooperation upon the conclusion of the Georgia Defense Readiness Program at the end of this year.  More details can be found on this fact sheet.  

Secretary Austin also met with U.S. Special Operations Forces who are deployed to Georgia to provide training to Georgian personnel in support of bilateral defense capacity-building efforts.  He observed a medical training event they organized and subsequently took the opportunity to speak with U.S and Georgian participants and thank them for their service.