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New US Ambassador Greets Georgia (Video)

Ian Kelly new ambassador to Georgia, releases a warm greeting video addressing people of Georgia and saying he visited Georgia in 1976 in soviet times.

Diplomat Ian Kelly is due to begin his new role as US Ambassador to Georgia on Wednesday, September 16. He will replace outgoing Ambassador Richard Norland, who held the post for three years.

It’s an honour for me to serve as the new United States’ Ambassador to Georgia. I first visited Tbilisi in 1976 as a college student and even back then I was impressed with the city’s beauty. I look forward to using my 30 years in diplomacy to help Georgia fully realise its Euro-Atlantic aspirations,” said Kelly in his video address.

Richard Norland, latest U.S. Ambassador to Georgia, says the new Ambassador is very competent in what his duties as a Chief of U.S. mission are expected to be:

“We are excited about Ian and Francesca going to Georgia. Mary and I miss Georgia quite a bit, although it is good to know that our successor is a very capable and competent diplomat; Ian is one of our best. I can tell you, being back in Washington, that Georgia is a very important country for us, which is why we send our best to represent us in Tbilisi. Ian has a considerable experience in the region; he served in Moscow and in OSCE, so he is very familiar with regional problems.”

“Ian Kelly is a great diplomat and person, so I think he was a great choice as a next U.S. Ambassador to Georgia. He has considerable experience in the region. One of his main functions will be supporting Georgia on the way,” says Norland.

Throughout his career Kelly has held many significant positions including top roles in the US State Department, including as head of the Russian Affairs Department and Department spokesman under Secretary Hillary Clinton, and with the OSCE in Europe. He also has extensive experience working on issues relating to NATO, Russia and the Balkans.

Kelly’s most recent role saw him serve as the US Department of State’s Diplomat in Residence at the University of Illinois at Chicago, a position he has held since 2013. Prior to that Kelly served for three years (2010-2013) as US Ambassador to the OSCE in Vienna.