23rd OSCE Ministerial Council
The 23rd OSCE Ministerial Council will take place on 8 and 9 December 2016 in Hamburg, Germany. The event will be held at the invitation of the 2016 OSCE Chairperson-in-Office and German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier.
The Ministerial Council is the central decision-making and governing body of the OSCE. The meeting, held annually, provides the foreign ministers of the 57 OSCE participating States an opportunity to review and assess the Organization's activities and strengthen the dialogue on security issues in the OSCE area.
“QUADRIGA” STATEMENT: OUR COMMITMENTS, OUR SECURITY, OUR OSCE
Within the framework of the 28th OSCE Ministerial Council, the Ministers for Foreign Affairs of Albania, Sweden, Poland, and North Macedonia, as the previous, current, incoming, and future Chairpersons of the OSCE issued the following statement - STOCKHOLM “QUADRIGA” STATEMENT: OUR COMMITMENTS, OUR SECURITY, OUR OSCE.
The so-called Quadriga reaffirms its commitment to Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, within its internationally recognized borders and underlines its concern about the continuing deterioration of the human rights situation in the Georgia’s Abkhazia and Tskhinvali regions.
The Quadriga, on behalf of the OSCE, expresses unwavering support for the Geneva International Discussions (GID) and reaffirms that the OSCE is committed to continuing its leadership of this format, together with the European Union and the United Nations. It is important the GID make progress on core issues of non-use of violence and international security arrangements, as well as the return of internally displaced persons and refugees.
The document also calls for the commitments made in the ceasefire agreement of 2008 to be implemented immediately and in full.
Georgian Foreign Minister has conveyed his condolences to his German colleague over the terrorist act in BerlinGeorgian Foreign Minister Mikheil Janelidze sent a condolence letter to his German counterpart, Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier after the brutal terrorist attack at the Memorial Church in Berlin, on 19 December, expressing his deep sorrow for the death of innocent people.
“Georgia strongly condemns terrorism in all its forms and representations, which poses threat to peace and stability both in Europe and beyond. In the face of so many challenges in the present-day world, we wish to express our solidarity with the Government of the Federal Republic of Germany in its efforts to maintain and further strengthen security in Europe. My dear colleague, in this hour of tragedy, let me convey my sincere condolences to the families of the victims. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families who have been affected by this horrific act”.
OSCE PARLIAMENTARY ASSEMBLY OBSERVER LEADERS ARRIVE IN GEORGIA AHEAD OF 8 OCTOBER ELECTIONS_
Leading members of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly’s election observation mission to the 8 October parliamentary elections in Georgia arrived today in Tbilisi for final preparations of the observation mission. Ignacio Sanchez Amor (MP, Spain), who has been appointed by OSCE Chairperson-in-Office Frank-Walter Steinmeier as Special Co-ordinator to lead the short-term OSCE observer mission, and Guglielmo Picchi (MP, Italy), who serves as Head of the OSCE PA delegation of observers, held several meetings today, and are expected to be joined by dozens of other parliamentarians tomorrow.
Addressing short-term OSCE observers today, Sanchez Amor stressed the importance of the elections and the need for vigorous and impartial observation. “It is clear that this election is not only important in the eyes of Georgians, but also in the eyes of all of the governments that have sent us to be here,” he said. “As observers, we have a great obligation as the eyes and ears – and the voice – of the international community.”
Sanchez Amor and Picchi will tomorrow address observers from the four parliamentary assemblies participating in the international election observation mission – the OSCE PA, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, NATO PA, and the European Parliament.
Picchi echoed Sanchez Amor’s comments. “As observers, and particularly as parliamentarians who have competed in elections ourselves, it is our duty to bring our critical eye to this process, but to also be fair and to base our assessment on the broadest information possible,” he said today.
Picchi and Sanchez Amor conducted a pre-electoral visit  to Georgia last month, holding meetings with President Giorgi Margvelashvili, members of the Central Election Commission, representatives from major political parties, observers from the OSCE/ODIHR, civil society representatives, as well as members of the diplomatic community in Tbilisi.
They met with Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili for discussions on the situation in the country ahead of the elections. They also met with Ambassador Alexandre Keltchewsky (France), who is leading the OSCE/ODIHR long-term observation mission consisting of 12 international experts based in Tbilisi and 26 long-term observers deployed in teams of two around the country.
The OSCE PA has 29 members of parliament from 17 countries participating in this observation mission, which marks the 11th time the PA has observed elections in Georgia since 1995.
Frank-Walter Steinmeier's letter to Giorgi Kvirikashvili
Frank-Walter Steinmeier thanked Prime Minister of Georgia for the hospitality demonstrated during his visit to Georgia and assessed this gesture as an indication of the friendly relations between the countries. In his letter to Giorgi Kvirikashvili, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Germany outlined success of bilateral economic relations and noted that preparations for marking 2017 as a Germany-Georgia Friendship Year and the Frankfurt Book Fair of 2018 are going full speed ahead.
Frank-Walter Steinmeier expressed full support to the foreign course of Georgian government that, according to him, is expressed in political farsightedness of Giorgi Kvirikashvili and the constructive stance he takes in dealing with the separatist areas.
"Please accept my heartfelt thanks for the hospitality and in-depth, trust-based discussions I enjoyed during my visit in Tbilisi. As I see it, this visit was an expression of the friendly relations existing between Germany and Georgia, and I also found it very beneficial at a personal level. I am particularly pleased with the successful economic initiatives and the busy preparations for Georgia's participation in the German-Georgian year planned for 2017 and in the 2018 Frankfurt Book Fair. Both events will bring Germans and Georgians closer together and intensify intercultural ties between the two countries.
I value the far-sightedness you bring to foreign policy and the constructive stance you take in dealing with the separatist areas. We will continue to do what we can do to support this policy both politically and with funding for confidence-building projects.
Be assured that I will continue to do what I can within Germany and the European Union to advocate that political, economic and cultural ties with Georgia be strengthened and visa liberalization be brought about soon," - is said in the letter.
Mikheil Janelidze: “Each citizen of Georgia sees the benefits of the Association Agreement”
“Today is a very important day – 1 July when the EU-Georgia Association Agreement came into force. It is a great achievement – towards which Georgia has been aspiring since the restoration of its independence. We are aspiring to the European family to which we belong, to become a European state based on European values, standards and principles” - the Georgian Foreign Minister, Mikheil Janelidze said at a joint press conference following his meeting with his German counterpart, Federal Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier.
According to Janelidze, the Association Agreement has already yielded positive results in terms of economic and institutional development, as well as of Georgia’s political association with the EU and sectorial integration. “Each citizen of Georgia sees the benefits of the Association Agreement. Economic interaction with the EU Member States including with Germany gradually increases, so do investments and export. Germany provides us with considerable assistance in this direction” - Mikheil Janelidze said
On 1 July 2016 the EU-Georgia Association Agreement came into force in compliance with its Article 431, after the EU Foreign Affairs Council announced its decision to end the procedures needed for ratification of the AA. The laborious process of ratification lasted less than two years and involved the European Parliament, 28 EU Member States and the legislative bodies of Georgia. The ratification of the Association Agreement in such short terms points to the EU Member States’ firm support for Georgia’s European path.