US Vice President arrives in Tbilisi
Vice President of the United States Mike Pence arrived in Tbilisi. Prime Minister of Georgia Giorgi Kvirikashvili and his spouse Maka Tsinadze greeted the Vice President and his spouse Karen Pence. The official meeting ceremony was held at the Tbilisi Shota Rustaveli International Airport.
Today the Prime Minister will host the US Vice President, his spouse and the members of the American delegation at an official dinner.
The US Vice President was invited to Georgia by Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili. Respective visit is held within the frames of Pence's first European tour.
Statements Made Today by Prime Minister of Georgia at the Executive Government Meeting
Irrespective of the fact that we all understand the prudence of measures taken so far, we need to make this decision and retain them till February 1. It was stated by Giorgi Gakharia, Prime Minister of Georgia at the Executive Government Meeting today.
As also noted by him, targeted restrictions resulted in a positively declining trend, though 1500 cases a day is still a high indicator for a country like Georgia.
"Almost a year has passed since we all together started a fight against the pandemic and this process continues both domestically and globally. As of today, we have 1177 cases resulting from the targeted restrictions that were imposed to lead to such a positively declining trend over 2 recent months. Nevertheless, we should all understand that in absolute numbers about 1500 COVID-19 cases a day is still a high number for Georgia. Irrespective of the fact that we all understand the prudence of measures taken so far, we need to make this decision and retain them till February 1. We all see what is happening in Europe. Situation is worsening everywhere. Restrictions are getting tighter elsewhere, though we will extend the current restrictions in the country till February 1 in this case" noted Giorgi Gakharia.
According to the Prime Minister of Georgia, relevant agencies subordinated to the Ministry of Health are actively working with representatives of the real economy and businesses to come up with specific measures and to create a possibility for reopening the economy as early and effectively as possible.
"These are test schemes, matters relating to vaccination and others. The Ministry of Health will be submitting a plan that we worked on together with representatives of real economy and businesses. We will have to slightly adjust our scheme of work for the upcoming phase to make sure that our fight with the epidemic gets successful, enabling us to effectively reopen the economy. We see 3 new priorities in the fight with the pandemic. First one is to adjust the scheme of testing. You may well be aware that the volume of testing has been increased in the country and we should continue doing so. Second and equally important is to maintain targeted restrictions wherever needed, which have served to be effective. Vaccination is of course among our priorities" noted the Prime Minister of Georgia.
According to the Head of Government of Georgia, citizens will have all the quality vaccines that get authorization by the applicable international organizations.
"A lot of nonsense has been rumoured in relation to vaccination and we cannot even guess where these ideas or information come from. Designated Commission is established on matters related to vaccination, which is led by the Ministry of Health. The Commission has several aims and goals to achieve. First one is to address all the issues related to logistics. You may well be aware that different vaccines have different logistic regimes. Also, everything should be prepared for the readiness of the country to launch the actual vaccination. Second one is to define those target groups that will be vaccinated as a priority in the first instance. Third one is to ensure the supply of quality vaccines of international authorisation as early as possible not only through COVAX platform, but through other means as well. First two goals have already been dealt with by the Ministry of Health and a plan exists. They will be submitting it to the Council on Monday and will be endorsed at the upcoming Executive Government Meeting. Thus, no basis exists for any question marks. I once again stress that citizens of Georgia are to receive all those quality vaccines that will be authorised by applicable international organizations" stated Giorgi Gakharia.
In addition, targeted social assistance of citizens continues and applications are being lodged from individuals, who lost jobs in the second wave of the pandemic.
The Prime Minister of Georgia also explained that social allowances will be paid from January 28, 2021.
"It is 1200 GEL for 6 months. I wish to urge every citizen of the country to lodge their applications as soon as possible. As of today, 45 000 such applications have been uploaded to our portal" noted Giorgi Gakharia.
The Cabinet of Ministers of Georgia has ruled to continue helicopter flights to Tusheti. Applicable permission was issued today by the Government to the Ministry of Internal Affairs at the Executive Government Meeting.
"Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia should be given permission to continue helicopter flights to Tusheti. You may well be aware that it has a very important social significance for our citizens living in high terrain regions of the country, especially in winter and especially in Tusheti. Relevant means of mobility should be provided. It has been ensured for years by the Ministry of Internal Affairs with support of the Government and this program continues" noted the Prime Minister of Georgia.
The Head of Government of Georgia also commented on the recent incidents occurring in Buknari village. In the opinion of Giorgi Gakharia, religious diversity is a wealth of the country and authorities are prepared to act in the most decisive manner every time an attempt occurs causing friction between the citizens of Georgia on religious grounds.
"Religious diversity is a historic reality and it is our wealth. We have been building our statehood over centuries. The Government of Georgia has always been and will remain to be a guarantor for each citizen to exercise their human freedoms and rights as promulgated in the Constitution of Georgia. We will never let anyone to limit human freedoms and rights in any form, though will neither allow anyone to provoke a friction between community members on religious grounds with any unlawful action. The Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia has already been instructed on this matter. The State and Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia will act in the most decisive manner wherever a slight, plain attempt occurs leading to or provoking a friction between community members on religious grounds" concluded the Prime Minister of Georgia.
Press Service of the Government Administration
Inter-Agency Coordination Council Discusses Current Epidemic Situation and Preparation for COVID Vaccination Stage in Georgia
Current epidemic situation, new confirmed strain of COVID-19, intensive testing and preparation for the vaccination stage were discussed by the Inter-Agency Coordination Council led by Giorgi Gakharia, Prime Minister of Georgia at its regular meeting held today at the Government Administration.
Detailed discussions were held at the Council Meeting on the current epidemic situation in the country. It was noted that volume testing was small in recent days. Detection of new cases was also minor and thus 2 316 confirmations today are related to people contracting the virus prior to the last 3 days.
New strain of COVID-19 was also discussed. One case has been confirmed so far in Georgia. It was noted that its clinical performance is similar to the previously known strain, though community transfer rate of this one is relatively faster and more caution is required on the grounds of information available at this stage.
Performance of the intensive testing as a process was also discussed by the Council, including the additional steps taken for the extension of scope and coverage of systemic target groups to make sure that the process becomes more effective.
Steps made by the Specialized Task Force established with the instructions of the Prime Minister of Georgia for the uninterrupted flow of COVID vaccination process in the country have been discussed at the meeting today as well. It was noted that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and overseas diplomatic missions of Georgia are engaged in the negotiations held on behalf of the State with international partners and pharmaceutical companies to make sure that first dozes of the COVID vaccine reach the country as early as possible.
It was once again noted that effective enforcement of the imposed restrictions is required, along with all the recommendations that need to be adhered. They include the social distancing and uniform wearing of face masks.
Since the detection of the first case of COVID-19 in Georgia, 232 079 individuals have been proven positive through lab testing, out of which 222 787 individuals recovered and 2 646 died.
Currently 377 individuals are placed in quarantine, 763 - at clinical hotels and 4 012 - at hospitals under medical supervision.
The Inter-Agency Coordination Council led by the Prime Minister of Georgia actively engages the Parliament of Georgia chaired by MP Archil Talakvadze and Administration of the President of Georgia.
TRADE AND ECONOMIC TIES WERE DISCUSSED IN THE FINAL PART OF THE POLITICAL CONSULTATIONS BETWEEN TURKMENISTAN AND THE UNITED STATES
On December 17, 2020, the final stage of political consultations between Turkmenistan and the United States took place in the format of a video conference.
From the Turkmen side, the meeting was attended by the heads and representatives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Finance and Economy, the Ministry of Agriculture and Environmental Protection, as well as the Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs of Turkmenistan. The US delegation was led by Dan Negrea, a senior State Department official.
During the meeting, the parties discussed the current level of trade-economic cooperation and exchanged views on expanding partnership in areas of mutual interest.
Speaking at the meeting, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkmenistan R.Meredov emphasized that trade-economic ties are one of the main areas of joint activities of the two countries. He spoke for the further development of partnership in investment and innovation activities, in the field of modernization of production and mutual trade. The success of the long-term work of American companies in the Turkmen market and the effectiveness of the Turkmen-American Business Council were emphasized.
The participants of the meeting listened to the presentations of the parties on the main vectors of interaction. The practical steps of Turkmenistan towards improving the investment and business climate of the country, as well as the regulatory framework were highlighted, which was confirmed by the reports of reputable international financial institutions, in particular the IMF, EBRD and the World Bank. This is also evidenced by the accession of Turkmenistan to the World Trade Organization as an observer. The activity on the economic empowerment of women in Turkmenistan was noted.
The parties spoke about the importance of the United States Agency for International Cooperation (USAID), including its role in the implementation of joint projects at the national level and within the framework of cooperation between the countries of Central Asia and the United States "C5 + 1". The importance of the Investment and Trade and Investments Framework Agreement (TIFA) was also highlighted.
During the meeting, the sides discussed the possibilities of developing cooperation in the implementation of infrastructure projects of regional and international importance. Potential directions include the creation of interregional transport and transit corridors along the East-West and South-North lines with access to Asian, European and Middle East markets, as well as the construction of the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline and other mutually acceptable projects.
The parties also talked about expanding partnerships in the field of environmental safety, including the creation of production facilities for renewable energy sources and the implementation of scientific exchanges.
Summing up the political consultations, the parties expressed satisfaction with the positive dynamics in the development of relations between Turkmenistan and the United States, and also reaffirmed their commitment to partnership in the interests of global peace, security, progress and constructive development.
Imported Social Natural Gas Price Has Been Optimised with an Agreement Signed After a Meeting of Giorgi Gakharia and Rovnag Abdullayev
Giorgi Gakharia, Prime Minister of Georgia met Rovnag Abdullayev, President of SOCAR State Oil Company of Azerbaijan today.
Focus of the meeting was made at the kind neighbourly relations and partnership of Georgia and Azerbaijan in various areas. Special attention was paid to the investment projects implemented by SOCAR in Georgia and prospects of deepening cooperation in future.
It was noted that cooperation of Georgia with SOCAR is truly successful in the area of natural gas, which is once again evidenced by the optimisation of the social gas price in the country.
Namely, Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development of Georgia has been instructed by the Government of Georgia to negotiate with SOCAR a deal to import 200 million cubic meters of the so-called social gas with a reduced tariff from Azerbaijan to Georgia. Amendments were made to the existing agreement on social gas supply originally signed in 2016. Signing ceremony held today engaged Natia Turnava, Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development of Georgia; Giorgi Bakhtadze, CEO of Oil and Gas Corporation and Rovnag Abdullayev, President of SOCAR after a meeting with the Prime Minister of Georgia.
As a result of the referred agreement. Government of Georgia will be able to maintain the stability of natural gas price for citizens of Georgia.
It was underlined that after the completion of the fourth stage of the South Gas Corridor, which envisages the transportation of Shah Deniz gas to the European market, will channel higher volumes of Azerbaijani gas through Georgia. At the same time, the country will be able to purchase more concessional Azerbaijani gas to meet its domestic demand.
Meeting with the Prime Minister of Georgia and signing ceremony was attended by Faig Guliyev, Ambassador Plenipotentiary and Extraordinary of Azerbaijan to Georgia; Mahir Mamedov, CEO of SOCAR Energy Georgia; Elshad Nasirov, President of SOCAR for Investments and Marketing; Vagif Aliyev, Director of Investments at SOCAR.
Press Service of the Government Administration
A shipment of Multiple Integrated Laser Engagement System equipment arrived yesterday
As part of the United States' firm commitment to the U.S.-Georgian military partnership, a shipment of Multiple Integrated Laser Engagement System (MILES) equipment arrived yesterday and will be distributed to the NATO-Georgia Joint Training and Evaluation Center (JTEC) where it will be used to enhance the realism of combat training for the Georgian Defense Forces.
At a total cost of $4.3M, this program (funded with Title 22 grant assistance) includes the full complement of training, equipment, and administration.
Press release of US Embassy in Georgia