Signing Ceremony in Turkey
Governments of Georgia and Turkey agreed upon establishing high level Strategic Partnership Council - Prime Minister of Georgia Giorgi Kvirikashvili and Prime Minister of Turkey Binali Yildirim signed respective document. The signing ceremony as held within the frames of official visit of the Prime Minister of Georgia to Turkey.
The Governments of Georgia and Turkey enhance cooperation through mutual support and protection of the investments.
The new agreement "between Georgia and the Republic of Turkey on Mutual Support and Protection of Investments" signed by the Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development of Georgia Dimitri Kumsishvili, will foster investors from the both countries to undertake investments. It will further ensure stimulation of entrepreneurial initiatives, economic development of the parties to the Agreement and effective utilization of economic resources.
To develop shipments and transportation using the railway vehicle, the draft of the "Framework Agreement on Railway Shipping and Transportation between the Government of the Republic of Turkey and the Government of Georgia" was signed.
The Governments of the two countries agreed upon the cooperation in the areas of labor, social protection and employment. The Ministry of Healthcare David Sergeenko signed the agreement. The Memorandum of Understanding in the area of Corrections between the Ministry of Justice of Turkey and Ministry of Corrections and Legal Assistance of Georgia was signed today. The document was signed by Minister of Corrections and Legal Assistance Kakha Kakhishvili.
Georgia: Leading MEPs react to the refusal of the political parties to reach an agreement
In a joint statement, MEPs deplore that Georgia’s political leaders did not agree to EU mediator Christian Danielsson’s proposal and announce consequences in terms of EU-Georgia relations.
Following a meeting on 1 April with Christian Danielsson, personal envoy of European Council President Charles Michel for the EU-mediated political dialogue in Georgia, leading MEPs issued the following joint statement:
“We are deeply disappointed with the political leaders in Georgia for their inability to reach an agreement last Tuesday despite the best efforts deployed by the European Union to help put an end to the current political crisis. Both the ruling and the main opposition parties taking part in the discussions are to be blamed for this outcome and a special responsibility lies with the party in government.
We reiterate our strong support to Christian Danielsson’s tireless work and welcome the publication of the proposal he made to the political parties, which further increased the transparency of the mediation process. It is essential to rebuild confidence between political party actors. The content of this proposal is indeed the right way ahead for Georgia: ambitious electoral and judicial reforms, meaningful sharing of responsibilities in the Georgian Parliament and, most importantly, a solution on future elections and on two cases of politicised justice. This solution is politically balanced and respects both the rule of law and the international assessment of the 2020 elections. We also welcome the idea of a Jean-Monnet Dialogue process supported by the European Parliament, when the political situation allows.
Following the refusal from the political parties to compromise, Georgia’s leaders should not expect a return to business as usual from the European Union. The European Parliament in particular will call for consequences in terms of EU financial assistance, including both a suspension of further disbursements of and an increase in conditionality linked to EU Macro Financial Assistance and budget support programmes.
In the meantime, the adoption of ongoing electoral and judicial reforms in the Georgian Parliament requires broad political support and the need to fully implement the recommendations of OSCE/ODIHR and the Council of Europe’s Venice Commission. These reforms are key to rebuild trust. We call on the ruling party to ensure a genuinely inclusive process to avoid the further undermining of both future elections and the judiciary, as well as unnecessarily closing the door to a possible agreement in the future.
We call on Georgia’s leaders to take action immediately. The future of EU-Georgia relations is at stake.”
The increasing frictions between political parties in Georgia following the November 2020 parliamentary elections and the arrest of the opposition leader in mid-February have sparked a major political crisis in Georgia. The EU is actively engaged to help overcome the tensions among Georgia's political parties. Christian Danielsson, European Council President Charles Michel's personal envoy, conducted in Tbilisi two rounds of mediation among the parties and presented a proposal for a way ahead for Georgia. The European Parliament strongly supports his efforts.
Viola von Cramon-Taubadel (The Greens/EFA, Germany), lead member of the Democracy Support and Election Coordination Group for Georgia;
Sven Mikser (S&D, Estonia), European Parliament’s Standing Rapporteur on Georgia;
Michael Gahler (EPP, Germany), European Parliament’s Standing Rapporteur on Ukraine;
Petras Auštrevičius (Renew Europe, Lithuania), European Parliament’s Standing Rapporteur on Belarus.
Georgia: progress made in fighting human trafficking, but improved victim identification and strengthened criminal justice response required
Strasbourg, 16.03.2021 – In its third report on Georgia’s implementation of the Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings, the Council of Europe’s anti-human trafficking monitoring body, GRETA, focuses on trafficking victims’ access to justice and effective remedies. The report acknowledges progress in implementing the Convention but calls on the authorities to step up their efforts to investigate cases of human trafficking and bring the perpetrators to justice, making sure that victims receive compensation and support towards their rehabilitation.
Since the previous evaluation by GRETA, the Criminal Code of Georgia has been amended to ensure proper qualification of human trafficking offences. Further, the number of special mobile groups set up to carry out the preliminary identification of victims of trafficking was increased from three to four. The number of labour inspectors was also increased, and they received training on detecting cases of human trafficking and forced labour.
Victims of trafficking are entitled to free legal aid during criminal proceedings, which is provided by specifically trained lawyers. GRETA welcomes the existence of a specific legal provision on the non-punishment of victims of trafficking for offences they were compelled to commit, as well as the expansion of the victim and witness co-ordinator services.
However, GRETA considers that additional steps should be taken to ensure that victims and witnesses of human trafficking are provided with effective and appropriate protection from potential retaliation or intimidation. The authorities should further ensure that access to legal aid is guaranteed as soon as there are reasonable grounds for believing that a person is a victim of trafficking, before the persons concerned have to decide whether or not they want to co-operate with the authorities.
Only three victims of human trafficking have received compensation from perpetrators through civil proceedings, and there has been only one judgement in human trafficking cases resulting in the confiscation of assets, the report says. GRETA urges the authorities to take vigorous measures to facilitate and guarantee access to compensation for victims of trafficking, including by introducing a procedure through which victims are entitled to obtain a decision on compensation from the offender as part of the criminal trial, and making full use of the legislation on the freezing and forfeiture of offenders’ assets to secure compensation to victims of trafficking.
In the period 2015-2018, a total of 80 investigations were conducted into human trafficking cases, and there were 15 convictions. GRETA notes with concern that there have been no convictions for trafficking for the purpose of labour exploitation and urges the Georgian authorities to ensure that human trafficking cases are not re-qualified as other offences which carry lighter penalties.
GRETA is concerned by the decrease in the number of victims identified and the high threshold required to grant the status of victim of human trafficking. GRETA urges the authorities to take further steps to proactively identify victims of trafficking, including amongst foreign workers, asylum seekers and persons placed in immigration detention centres.
The Georgian authorities should also strengthen their efforts in the areas of prevention of child trafficking, paying increased attention to the link between trafficking in children and the use of information and communications technology.
Georgia is primarily a country of origin and, to a lesser extent, a country of destination and transit of victims of trafficking in human beings, according to the report. The total number of victims identified in the period 2015-2019 was 66. Until 2018, the majority of the identified victims were women trafficked for the purpose of sexual exploitation, but in 2019 all identified victims were Georgian children, trafficked for the purpose of production of child sexual abuse images (23 girls aged from 8 to 18 years) or exploitation of begging (two boys and four girls).
The Group of Experts on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings (GRETA) is an independent body which monitors the way countries implement the Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings. So far, forty-six of the 47 member states of the Council of Europe are bound by the Convention, as well as Belarus, a non-member state.
Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili to participate in Georgia-EU Association Council’s meeting in Brussels
Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili will participate in the 6th meeting of the Georgia-EU Association Council, in Brussels. The Government delegation led by the Head of Government departed for Brussels today.
The visit includes high-level meetings in the European Commission, the European Council and the Parliament, and NATO.
Irakli Garibashvili will hold his first meeting today, with President of the European Council Charles Michel.
On March 16, after the Georgia-EU Association Council's meeting, Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell, and European Commissioner for Neighborhood and Enlargement Olivér Várhely will hold a joint press conference.
On March 17, high-level meetings will be held in the European Parliament and NATO. The Head of Georgian Government will be hosted by the Alliance's Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, at NATO headquarters. After the meeting, Irakli Garibashvili and Jens Stoltenberg will hold a joint press conference. The NATO-Georgia Commission is also scheduled to convene.
The Georgian delegation led by Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili consists of Vice Prime Minister, Foreign Minister David Zalkaliani, Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development Natia Turnava, and Justice Minister Gocha Lortkipanidze.
Press Service of the Government Administration
The Georgian Minister of Foreign Affairs D. Zalkaliani, held an official visit to the Republic of TurkeyAnkara, March 3rd, 2020 – The Georgian Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, David Zalkaliani, held an official visit to the Republic of Turkey. Within the framework of the visit the Vice Prime Minister held a meeting with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Turkey, Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu.During the meeting of the Foreign Minister issues relevant to the bilateral agenda were discussed, along with the challenges, threats and prospects faced by the region. The existing strategic partnership between the two states was underscored, with a particular emphasis being made on existing economic projects, which ensure stable development of the region, elevating its significance to strategic levels.The Georgian Vice Prime Minister expressed his gratitude towards Turkey for the unwavering support for Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, along with the staunch support in terms of Georgia’s Euro-Atlantic aspirations.The parties discussed the significance of the high-level strategic partnership council of Georgia and Turkey, expressing hope that the session delayed due to the pandemic will take place soon, allowing for further deepening of relations between the two states, increasing the degree of cooperation between inter-state institutions.Particular emphasis was made on the successful cooperation of the two states in the fields of politics, trade, economy, transportation, energy, defence and security, culture, as well as humanitarian issues. Issues associated with the dimensions of trade and economy, transport and energy were discussed in detail. It was noted with satisfaction that Turkey represents one of the main trading partners of Georgia, underscoring that more efforts are needed to increase Georgian exports to the Turkish markets.The parties welcomed the liberalisation of tariffs conducted within the framework of the signing of the free trade agreement, along with steps taken in terms of the activation of the diagonal cumulation between Georgia, Turkey and the EU. The aforementioned agreement further increases Georgian and Turkish exports to the EU common market.The significance of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil and the Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum gas pipelines along with the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars project was noted. It was stated that the realisation of southern energy corridors will further solidify security of the region, ensuring additional volumes of energy resources of the Caspian basin for the European markets.In terms of multilateral relations the parties welcomed the existing trilateral cooperation format of the region connecting Azerbaijan-Georgia-Turkey, which bears prospects of development. The parties agreed to support the deepening of regional cooperation via the means of the aforementioned format.The developments taking place in Southern Caucasus were also discussed. The unambiguous support for peaceful resolution of conflicts was underscored. In this regard, satisfaction was expressed in terms of the establishment of peace in Nagorno-Karabakh. The discussion also touched upon the issue of new regional initiatives. It was noted that any type of initiative must be based upon and implemented with the principles of mutual respect, equality, sovereignty, territorial integrity of all parties involved. Additionally, Minister Zalkaliani made particular emphasis on the fact that regional states must be open for cooperation with both European partners as well as partners from Asia, with the actual cooperation focusing on economic projects, which would support sustainable development of the region, while strengthening economic ties between Europe and Asia.Towards the end of the meeting the parties expressed readiness to further strengthen the existing strategic partnership between the two states.MFA Statement
Opposition Reacts to PM Irakli Garibashvili’s Call for “Dialogue”
Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili addressed “healthy” parts of the opposition on February 23 evening, saying “we are ready for real dialogue at any time and in any format.”
The new-old Prime Minister proposed to “all reasonable opposition forces to enter the Parliament, so that we may use the country’s legislature as the main platform for discussion.” PM Garibashvili also said enforcing the law and the detention of Nika Melia, chair of the largest opposition UNM party was “a necessary condition for the reduction of radicalism in politics.”
Civil.ge offers opposition reactions to Garibashvili’s statement, as political crisis runs deep and tensions run high in the country.
Zaal Udumashvili of the United National Movement said „We are ready to sit down at the negotiating table, provided that Nika Melia will also be sitting at the table.”
European Georgia’s Giga Bokeria wondered: “How could the man, openly calling for the destruction of all the opponents, be [regarded] the supporter of a dialogue?!”“Whenever he [Garibashvili] gets back to reason, and discusses the release of political prisoners and the snap elections, that would be a different story,” Bokeria said, adding that “until then, his words are not [considered to be] serious.”
- Georgian Politicians React to UNM Office Raid, Melia Detention
- Police Storm UNM Office, Detain Nika Melia
- PM-Designate Garibashvili Prioritizes Restoring “Order”
Zurab Japaridze of the right-libertarian Girchi – More Freedom party said Garibashvili’s speech represents “a Russian and a criminal approach,” implying “I will imprison you, bully you and then I will come to talk to you.” This approach will not work out for them, Japaridze asserted.
He reiterated the opposition’s pre-conditions for the Georgian Dream government to stop “political persecution,” to release “political prisoners” and to hold new elections.
Lelo for Georgia’s Badri Japaridze said on his part: “I could not see a sign [in Garibashvili’s statement] for them [GD] to be truly eager to normalize the situation.”
During his confirmation hearing on February 22, Garibashvili called the major opposition parties’ parliamentary boycott “a deliberate sabotage against our state.” He then ruled out “categorically” any talks about holding snap elections.