Giorgi Kvirikashvili: We Will Support the Decision of the American People
We will support the decision of the American people, Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili stated in his comment on the US presidential election. According to the Head of Government, America is Georgia's most important strategic partner.
"In the past 25 years, the US support has proved vital in the process of maintaining our sovereignty and Georgia's independence. Today we are talking about the next 25 years of our partnership with the US, which is very important to us," Giorgi Kvirikashvili said.
The American Friendship Club gave a special celebration of the American Independence Day on July 4th at the State Palace of Ceremonies
In the open space of the palace of state ceremonies the festive celebration of the 4th of July of the devoted friend and strong ally of Georgia was held.
Members of the legislative and executive authorities of Georgia, representatives of diplomatic corp, busienss sector and various fields of society attended the festive party dedictaed to the 245th anniversary of signing the declaration of independence.
The open space of the palace was decorated with the colors of the USA flag. Visitors were given bracelets and badges immediately upon entering the place. Zura Khutsishvili’s band played several American jazz pieces especially for this day.
The president of the American friendship Club, Ilia Zukakishvili and her excellency, Ambassador of the U.S. to Georgia, Kelly Degnan addressed the public. Then anthems of both U.S. and Georgia were sung.
The president of American Friendshop Club Ilia Zukakishvili stated in his address speech:
The American Friendshop Club, as the organization supporting American values, has been celebrating the American Independence Day for the 17th time. Therefore, we get convinced that through its essence July 4th grants happiness to not only American people but also those who wish to be the partner of the U.S. to achieve common goals and mainitain values and interests.
At the same time I am extremely happy about the fact that we, Georgians, together with our strategic partners celebrate our common values of independce, freedom and democracy of the U.S.
Several thousand kilometers distance Georgia from the U.S. but, despite this, celebrating the independence day of the U.S. in our country is extremely emotional since any activity related to July 4th is especially precious for Georgian people and is full of best emotions of happiness. The environment created during this special celebration gets Georgian-American frinedship which started three decades ago even closer. It was indeed three decades ago that the dynamics of the process which started then laid the foundation and determined special attitude of our nation towards American peple.
One more factor to celebrate the Independence Day in the capital city of Georgia is demonstration of the clear message of strong friendship and what the value connection between USA and Georgia is rather than just the frienship process at the level of one-off words and phrases and the intention of caring about one’s interests.
As already mentioned, July 4th is one of the best days and opportunities to send a message full of gratutude to official Washington for the good deeds is has done throughout last three decades for the state of Georgia and rigorous support of the Georgian people. The 4th of July festive mood is the reflection of the gratitude which is called rigorous Georgian-American friendship.
At the same time I consider that the format of similar events enables us to demonstrate to everyone inside or outside of the state that freedom-loving Georgian nation is devoted to the principles based on common values and a reliable partner which is obviously able to serve as the strong friend of the future.
July 4th is another clear example of the fact that fight for independence always has a point and the history of July 4th is indeed a vivid celebration of perosnal freedom and future happiness granted by God. We are proud that during 17 years together with Georgian companies we have been celebrating the existence of the idea which serves as the basis of the USA.
Therefore, once again I, as all those freedom-loving individuals, would like to once again confirm my respect towards the American people, express gratitude towards the American people and the USA government for all implemented and ongoing projects and wish to be part of the effort which will further strengthen and enhance friendship between Georgia and the USA.
Allow me to use this opportunity and express special gratitude to the Stable Partner and General Sponsor of 4th of July company PSP which has been supporting us for the last 3 years and plays a special role in organizing the U.S. independence say celebration.
It is with great pride today that I can state that in the recent period the amount of supporters of Georgian-American friendship has got further expanded which was clearly demonstrated on the banner of the event. The festive reception dedicated to the U.S. independence day was finalized with a grant firework and the ceremony of cutting the 4th of July cake.
God bless United States of America, native Americans within or outside its borders, Georgian-American friendship and all those devoted friends who shows respect to the U.S.
Happy U.S. independence day!
American Friendship Club – 8 July, 2021
DETAILS RELEASED OF GEORGIAN GOVERNMENT’S CAMPAIGN TO STRANGLE ANAKLIA PORT PROJECT
Ruling Georgian Dream Party Reversed its Support for Vital Project,
Wiping Out Economic Benefits for Georgia
TBILISI, GEORGIA, 9 September, 2020 – The Anaklia Development Consortium (ADC), the company originally selected by the Government of Georgia to develop the strategic Anaklia Port Project, today shared additional details of the Government’s campaign, directed by the ruling Georgian Dream party, to undermine the project by dissuading potential project investors, lenders, contractors and suppliers from joining the project in order to kill it.
The following statement is issued on behalf of the ADC Supervisory Board:
“All infrastructure projects of such scale require government support; namely the encouragement of lenders and investors, the assistance in permitting, regulatory approvals and a favorable tax regime, and providing any ancillary support; in this instance, the provision of land and the construction of road and rail infrastructure. For a government to actually oppose an infrastructure project that it had itself approved is highly unusual in the global economy.
“The Georgian Government’s campaign to strangle ADC’s ability to develop the Anaklia Port Project represents a self-inflicted wound for itself and considerable injury to Georgia’s economy and its role in the region.
“Taken together, the Georgian Government's specific actions are part of a deliberate and well-orchestrated campaign to destroy a project which the Government itself originally sponsored and endorsed, but subsequently chose to destroy as a result of what appear to be the political and economic self-interests of the Georgian Dream Party and its principals.
“The Government manufactured all sorts of excuses for not wanting to see various investors, lenders and partners involved in the project, but the Government really only had one purpose: to choke the project to death by scaring away everybody who might have an interest in supporting it.
“Also, is it beyond coincidence that government ministers – including two Prime Ministers -- who voiced support for the project or otherwise expressed concern about the growing controversy with the project were tendering their resignations shortly after such comments were made?
“The damage to Georgia caused by the Government goes well beyond the potential loss of the Anaklia Port and the associated Special Economic Zone. The conduct of the Government is scaring away investors at a time when Georgia cannot afford to lose any more foreign investment. According to the National Statistics Office of Georgia, the amount of foreign direct investment in Georgia has fallen from nearly US$ 2 billion in 2017 to just over US$ 1.3 billion in 2019, and in the first quarter of 2020, stood at only US$ 171.8 million - a catastrophic decrease even before the Covid crisis began to take effect. As Retired U.S. Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges of the Center for European Policy Analysis said, ‘the government only has itself to blame.’”
Some examples of the Government’s efforts to strangle ADC and the Anaklia Port Project include:
- Georgian Dream party leader Bidzina Ivanishvili requested to meet with ADC to discuss the Anaklia Port Project and asserted that the expansion of Poti Port could achieve the same objectives of the Anaklia Port at a far lower cost.
- During a June 12 meeting of the Georgian Dream party, attended by more than 100 party officials, Party Leader Bidzina Ivanishvili personally blamed Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili for his actions in support of the Anaklia project and for having close ties to ADC investor Mamuka Khazaradze. Mr. Kvirikashvili resigned the day after that meeting.
- In February 2019 ADC learned that during an October 2018 meeting with senior U.S. State Department officials in Tbilisi, Mr. Giorgi Gakharia (then Minister of Interior) advised the U.S. officials that the Anaklia Port project was not in Georgia’s interests.
- SSA Marine, which was selected as the Anaklia Port operator and was a potential investor, alerted ADC of its concerns about what seemed to be the Government’s support of an expansion of the Poti Port. (Following detailed studies sponsored by the Government back in 2013-14, it had been determined that Poti Port could never meet Georgia’s needs for a Deepwater Port, which is why the government itself selected Anaklia for development at that time. The Government’s subsequent expressions of support for expansion at Poti was a clear signal to the lending and investment community that the Government was no longer supportive of Anaklia.)
- A sovereign European development bank advised ADC that it had decided against supporting the project because of the negative actions of the Georgian Government, and the possible shift of support to the Poti Port.
- Another sovereign European development bank advised ADC that it was withdrawing its support because one of its counterparts had just done so (above) due to the state’s apparent shift of support from Anaklia to Poti.
- It has been reported that Infrastructure Minister Maya Tskitishvili, in ministerial hearings before Parliament, undermined SSA Marine as a potential investor and as the port operator, claiming the company lacked experience and financial capacity. These assertions were not true. In the process of her speech, the minister also breached legal obligations of confidentiality that were associated with the investment agreement.
- SSA Marine advised ADC that it was suspending its activities related to the Anaklia Port project.
- Mr. Giorgi Kobulia, Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development, told “Forbes Week” that the negative public discussions and media reports of the Anaklia project were having a negative impact on the business climate within Georgia. He subsequently resigned within days of the interview.
- A major U.S. private equity firm which was in advanced negotiations with ADC to join the project revealed to ADC that Government officials warned the firm to stay away from the project.
- Prime Minister Mamuka Bakhtadze, in a trade visit to the U.S., met separately with SSA Marine, the leadership of the U.S. private equity firm that were interested in investing in the project, and with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Washington, D.C. Secretary Pompeo expressed support for the Anaklia project with the prime minister standing next to him, saying it would “strengthen Georgia’s ties with free economies and not allow Georgia to be under the economic influence of Russia or China.” Upon his return to Georgia, Mr. Bakhtadze resigned, and this again put the project in unchartered waters.
- At a meeting in Tbilisi, a large Hong Kong-based private equity group with significant Central Asian transportation synergies that was considering joining the project was told bluntly by Infrastructure Minister Tskitishvili that the Government did not desire their participation in the project. At this same meeting Ms. Tskitishvili reaffirmed the Government’s seeming opposition to SSA Marine’s involvement in the project.
- Giorgi Volski, Vice Speaker of Parliament, falsely claimed that the Hong Kong private equity group mentioned above is a “Russian” company, with the intention either of disparaging it or sowing further confusion about the government's position in respect of the project.
- In a meeting between Prime Minister Gakharia and an Anaklia Supervisory Board member, Mr. Gakharia stated that “things had to get quiet” before he could reassure the major potential U.S. investor of the state’s support for the Anaklia Project, which the board member understood to be a condition that ADC and Mr. Khazaradze stop criticizing the government publicly on its opposition to the Anaklia Project, and the government would stop criticizing ADC.
- Also, the Supervisory Board was promised a letter of support to a U.S. investor from the highest levels of the Government, but this never materialized, even though ADC did comply with the Government’s request.
- A delegation from the U.S. (in Tbilisi to participate in the 5th annual Tbilisi International Conference sponsored by the McCain Institute) met with new Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia, and subsequently with Mamuka Khazaradze. Representatives of the delegation told Mr. Khazaradze that Prime Minister Gakharia told them the Anaklia project was not commercially viable when this was patently not the case.
- Fadi Asly, chairman of the International Chamber of Commerce in Georgia, is quoted in the media saying, “No one will invest in Anaklia project as long as Bidzina Ivanishvili wants to destroy it.”
Taken together, these are only a selection of the instances where the Government of Georgia actively undermined the project in an effort to prevent ADC from developing the project. ADC intends to present evidence during the upcoming arbitration proceedings to demonstrate the degree to which the Government took such steps.
Further details of the Anaklia Port project and ADC can be found at http://anakliadevelopment.com
On Interagency Coordination Council’s Decision, Georgia Opens Borders Unconditionally to 5 Countries
According to the Coordinating Council's decision, Georgia will open its borders without any conditions to 5 countries, - confirmed the advisor of Prime Minister, Irakli Chikovani, after the meeting of the Council.
• As you know, the European Union, on June 30, included Georgia on the list of safe countries and issued a recommendation on the possible reopening of borders to these countries. Based on said recommendation, the Government is holding bilateral negotiations on opening borders with relevant EU member states.
• Notably, based on the epidemiological situation in the world and Europe, some EU member states have, at this point, opted against opening borders to foreign citizens, including from the EU. And a 14-day quarantine at one's own expense is still mandatory upon arrival in a number of countries.
• Georgia is also monitoring the global picture and takes cautious steps to protect the health of its citizens.
• As of today, of the countries who have opened their borders to Georgia without reservation, Georgia, on the decision of the Interagency Coordination Council, will unconditionally open its borders to the following 5 countries:
• As for other countries, in making this decision, the council considered the fact that several countries have opened their borders, among others, to states not listed by the EU as safe countries.
• The citizens/residents of the 5 countries above can only use direct flights to Georgia for any type of visit.
• Before crossing Georgia's border, they must fill a special e-form and list their travel history in the course of previous 14 days, also the location of their stay in Georgia, contact information, and others.
• With their consent, or in case thermal screening on the border reveals a temperature higher than 370, a PCR test will be performed at the airport.
• Also, testing and quarantine will be mandatory for those with a history of traveling to high-risk non-EU member states in the course of previous 14 days.
• All persons arriving in Georgia will, throughout their stay, maintain proactive communication with and receive care from a special call center group.
• As for other EU member states, who have not opened borders to Georgia, the status quo will be maintained by Georgia as well. Besides the 5 countries above, in the case of countries listing Georgia as a safe country or imposing various types of restrictions, their citizens will be able to enter Georgia as long as they complete a 14-day quarantine period at their own expense.
• Besides the 5 countries above, work on relevant procedures continue with the countries that have unconditionally opened their borders to Georgia.
• At this point, the following countries have not opened their borders to Georgia: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Denmark, Norway, Malta, Finland, Switzerland, Czechia, Slovakia, and Hungary. Notably, a joint commission with Hungary has been established to work on the issue of movement reopening.
• Some countries (Italy, Cyprus, Iceland, and Slovenia) are ready to open their borders with certain restrictions, including a mandatory 14-day quarantine period for arrivals.
• Notably, the recommendations and the list of safe countries published by the EU will be reviewed every other week.
• Importantly, to encourage economic activities in Georgia, business trip from all countries will be allowed without reservation, based on a completed special form and coordination with relevant sectoral agencies. Business visitors to Georgia are obligated to complete a PCR test for COVID-19 at their own expense every 72 hours, or complete a mandatory 14-day quarantine, also at their own expense. Of course, that does not apply to the citizens/residents of the 5 countries enjoying unconditional border reopening with Georgia.
• Relevant e-forms mandatory for the citizens of the EU member states listed above, also for business visitors from any country, will be available on the Georgian Government's special website www.StopCoV.ge.
• As for Georgian citizens, they, upon their return from any type of visit to EU member states, will be obligated to complete a mandatory 14-day quarantine period. Importantly, our citizens must also consider the approaches to reopening borders as taken by the EU member states listed above.
• In addition, negotiations are underway with international airlines to resume air travel and regular flights with the 5 EU member states who have unconditionally reopened their borders to Georgia. In particular, an agreement has been reached with Lufthansa to carry out 2 flights a week to Munich starting in August. We are also negotiating with Air Baltic and Air France.
• In addition, we emphasize that, to ensure the orderly repatriation of Georgian citizens abroad, Wizz Air and MyWay Airlines will carry out flights from the following destinations in July:
Warsaw on July 13
Barcelona on July 15
Rome on July 17
Paris on July 22
Athens on July 28.
• The flights above will not cost Georgian citizens more than 200 euro.
• In addition, Georgian Airways, formerly Airzena, is carrying out commercial charter flights to the following capitals: Vienna, Amsterdam, and Tel Aviv.
• In addition, Qatar Airways will, in the next few days, carry out a one-off commercial charter flight from the capital city of Doha, to repatriate 105 Georgian citizens.
• Also, the presently applicable regulations will remain enforced on Georgia's land borders.
• The Government of Georgia continues active cooperation with partner EU member states. Based on the relevant recommendation, the rules for entering Georgia and for Georgian citizens entering various EU states will be reviewed jointly once every other week.
• The health and safety of citizens is our top priority, and each decision is made with this priority in mind. We will do everything to ensure maximal protection of the health of our citizens and the country's guests in Georgia.
"Decision is shocking and unbelievable" - Nika Gvaramia responds to the decision of the European Court of Human Rights
Nika Gvaramia responded to the decision of the European Court of Human Rights. The European Court has recently announced the decision on the case of Rustavi 2. The general director of the broadcasting company noted that the decision is legally scandalous.
"We are in Rustavi 2 and we are going to stay here. This decision is shocking and unbelievable. I have the right to criticize. Unfortunately there left only one option in the decision to appeal and of course we will use this. I can not claim that the court was biased, but it must be incorrect interpretation. This case is very important and we are going to appeal the decision of Judge Urtmelidze and Todua,"- Nika Gvaramia said.
According to the general director of the "Rustavi 2" the cancellation of the temporary measure does not mean that the decision has come into force.
"The cancellation of the temporary measure does not mean that this decision has come into force. The temporary measure was canceled because it was based on the request of "Rustavi 2." I would say that it is legally scandalous, because the second chamber of the same court has admitted the violation of the freedom of expression and the response was utterly revolutionary when the first chamber used the temporary measure. The Second chamber said that this Chamber has not enough qualification. I would say that the decision is scandalous in terms of the communication between the chambers of the same court. It is not my competence, I can only assess this issue. "- said Gvaramia.
Prime Minister of Georgia Congratulates Azerbaijanis with 100th Anniversary of First Democratic Republic
"It is my honor to cordially congratulate this most important national holiday of the Republic Day personally to you, Ambassador and to the friendly nation of Azerbaijan. This date has a special significance this year. Our countries celebrate a centenary jubilee from the creation of the first democratic republic. It is symbolic that we have gathered today within the historic walls that served as a venue for our nations to choose their path of progress and prosperity a hundred years ago. Exactly one century ago, on May 28th 1918 National Council of Azerbaijan announced the independence of the First Democratic Republic of Azerbaijan right in this building. Two days prior, National Council of GGiorgieorgia unanimously endorsed the Independence Act in the same building" stated Giorgi Kvirikashvili, Prime Minister of Georgia in his address to the guests gathered at the 100th Anniversary of the First Democratic Republic of Azerbaijan.
Head of Government noted that it is unfortunate that in the beginning of 20th century independence of Georgia and Azerbaijan turned out to be short-lived, though these spells of liberty left an irremovable trace in the history of statehood of both countries.
"Recently, on 26th May we celebrated the Jubilee of our Republic together with Mr. Ogtay Asadov, Speaker of the Parliament of Azerbaijan. Unfortunately, our independence turned out to be short-lived. Democratic Republic of Azerbaijan existed for only 23 months, while Georgian - almost 3 years, though these spells of liberty left an irremovable trace in the history of our statehood. Within these hundred years, our countries overcame many obstacles and challenges. Friendship of our people and kind neighborhood counts many hundreds of years. Today we are building a better region with shared efforts to create more peace, stability and prosperity for all. Peaceful and stable region is the primary aim of all of us nowadays" noted the Head of Government in his address.
According to Giorgi Kvirikashvili, peaceful and stable region is most important for the strategic projects that are jointly implemented by Georgia and Azerbaijan. Prime Minister focused on the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars Railway project and Trans-Anatolian Gas Pipeline (TANAP). According to him, relationship between the two countries is an outstanding example of the kind neighborhood.
"Azerbaijan is one of the largest investors and trade partners of Georgia. This trend is constantly rising. Close economic and cultural links further solidify the foundation of our cooperation. Today our countries are working together on implementing large scale and ambitious transit and energy projects, which will completely change the dynamics in the region and its international significance. We officially launched the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars Railway last August in Baku. Trans-Anatolian Gas Pipeline (TANAP) will be launched in June this year, which also evidences our regional cooperation this time between Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey. Friendship existing between our countries is priceless and we take a special care of it. Azerbaijan was always standing by Georgia, be that during energy challenges over decades, as the Ambassador has mentioned in his address or - massive fire-led natural disaster last year. Georgia will never forget this support. I believe that our links will further strengthen and deepen to serve as a basis of a far wider and successful regional cooperation with the active engagement of other participants and partners" noted the Prime Minister of Georgia.
Head of Government congratulated Ilham Aliyev, President of Azerbaijan and his family, as well as the people of Azerbaijan with 95th Jubilee of late Heidar Aliyev. Giorgi Kvirikashvili wished peace, prosperity and success to Azerbaijan.
"I hope that with shared efforts and engagement we will manage to carry out this greatest mission and leave a peaceful, stable and affluent region to future generations. When we talk about building the state of Azerbaijan, we forget the name of Heydar Aliyev, whose contribution in this mission is tremendous. Recently, 95 years were celebrated from his birth on May 10. I wish to use this opportunity and express my slightly belated, but most cordial congratulations to Ilham Aliyev, President of Azerbaijan, his family and the people of Azerbaijan. I want to wish a much greater success to the President of Azerbaijan in the building of statehood. Once again please accept my congratulations with 100th Anniversary of the First Republic of Azerbaijan and I wish peace, prosperity and success to the people of Azerbaijan" concluded Giorgi Kvirikashvili.
Jubilee reception held at the Youth Palace of Georgia marking the 100th Anniversary of the Democratic Republic of Azerbaijan was attended by the Government Members, representatives of the diplomatic corps and other invitees, who were also addressed by Dursun Hasanov, the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Azerbaijan to Georgia.
Prime Minister's Press Office