Bulgarian Ambassador to Georgia has handed to David Zalkaliani the congratulation letter of the Bulgarian Foreign Minister
Georgian Foreign Minister David Zalkaliani held his first meeting with Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Bulgaria to Georgia Dessislava Ivanova. The Ambassador handed to David Zalkaliani the congratulation letter of the Bulgarian Foreign Minister Ekaterina Zaharieva.
The sides discussed the friendly relations and partnership between the two countries, including within the framework of international organizations. Special attention was paid to the need of exchanging high-level visits and activating sectoral co-operation.
Special mention was made of the potential of developing economic relations, especially in the areas of transport and energy. The sides exchanged views over the ongoing co-operation in the tourism sector and the importance of establishing direct flights that will bring closer the two countries and will encourage people-to-people contacts.
David Zalkaliani congratulated Bulgaria on the successful completion of the term of presidency of the EU Council and expressed his gratitude for the firm support for Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, as well as for its European and Euro-Atlantic integration path.
Discussing the situation in Georgia’s occupied Abkhazia and Tskhinvali regions, David Zalkaliani highlighted the importance of the partners’ consolidated support for Georgia on the tenth anniversary of the Russian-Georgian war.
For her part, Dessislava Ivanova reaffirmed Bulgaria’s firm support for Georgia’s territorial integrity and European and Euro-Atlantic integration. According to her, Bulgaria as a liaison embassy of NATO will endeavor to make its positive contribution to bringing Georgia closer to the Alliance.
At the end of the meeting, Dessislava Ivanova, on behalf of the Bulgarian Foreign Minister, invited David Zalkaliani to Sofia.
THE U.S. AMBASSADOR VISITED MTSKHETA-MTIANETI POLICE DEPARTMENT
The Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to Georgia, Kelly C. Degnan, visited Mtskheta-Mtianeti Police Department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia. The Director of Mtskheta-Mtianeti Police Department, Davit Tamazashvili, together with the deputy directors hosted the U.S. Ambassador.Within the framework of the introductory meeting, Davit Tamazashvili provided guests with the detailed information about the activities of the department. The parties discussed issues related to existing challenges in the sphere of fight against crime and capacity building of Mtskheta-Mtianeti Police Department.The Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America expressed her gratitude to the director of Mtskheta-Mtianeti Police Department for the close cooperation and expressed readiness for future collaboration.The representatives of the Regional Security Office of the U.S. Embassy to Georgia also attended the meeting.Source: Police.ge
Ambassador Degnan’s Remarks to Media at Mtskheta-Mtianeti Regional Hub
Ambassador Degnan: Well, it’s a beautiful day to be here at the Regional Hub, which is a wonderful example of the great partnership between the Peace Corps and the local communities here along the Administrative Boundary Line. There’s a long history here between Peace Corps and the communities here trying to help youth, to support entrepreneurs, and just to improve the quality of life here for the people living along the ABL. This is a really exciting time because we know how much Georgians have missed our Peace Corps volunteers. We’ve missed them a lot too, and we’re looking forward to them coming back very soon, not just here in the Mtskheta area, but throughout Georgia. So, today is a day for us to celebrate that wonderful partnership between Peace Corps volunteers and all they’ve done with their great partners here in the regional hub.
Question about a letter from former GD MPs about judicial reform
Ambassador Degnan: Let me start by saying that for decades we have been working with Georgia on judicial reform, and there has been some very important progress over the course of the last decade in particular, where we’ve seen some good reform efforts. Everyone knows that there is more work to be done there. That has never been an issue of debate, so it’s a little puzzling why there is such resistance now to doing the work that everybody has been saying for a long time: it needs to continue to improve Georgia’s judiciary, to make sure that it truly is independent, impartial, autonomous, and responsive to the public. In this case, it is baffling to me why there is a question about the kind of consultation that has been ongoing, not just with the United States, but with other legal experts, domestic and international, for decades on judicial reform. That consultative process has resulted in improvements in Georgia’s judiciary. There is more to be done, and that includes commitments that the Georgia’s political leaders across the political spectrum have already agreed to multiple times over multiple years: that these kinds of improvements still need to be made.
There are recommendations from the Venice Commission and ODIHR. These are international legal experts who provide this kind of advice globally to countries like Georgia and other countries as to how to improve their judicial system. Many of them have been fulfilled. Many of them have not. These are the same steps. These are the same reforms that Georgia’s political leaders have agreed to do, both in the April 19th agreement, after the April 19th agreement, and before the April 19th agreement. Some of these are now being discussed in the judicial working groups that Parliament is hosting, and that the opposition and civil society have also contributed to this group. Obviously, the United States has also helped Georgia for many years in building its democratic institutions. That includes a diverse Parliament that represents the Georgian public.
I’m not sure what this group (the quartet) represents. I’m not sure who they represent, and I’m not sure how different they are from the ruling party that they say they left. What I can say is that the accusations that they most recently made against the United States and others are reckless conspiracy theories that have no basis. In fact, it’s very important to keep in mind that the United States works with all political parties across the political spectrum. We meet with Georgians from across the political spectrum, and we have for over 30 years. This is how we know how we can better support Georgia in trying to help Georgia develop its democratic institutions, develop its economy, ensure that it is more secure and stable as a democracy. This is the work that we’ve been doing with our Georgian partners for over 30 years and what we will continue to do in the coming years. I would say that any accusations that we are responsible in any way for the polarization that exists here is an attempt to shift the blame from those who know they are responsible to Western partners, who have done nothing but tried to help Georgia for 30 years along its European path. That is all we have done. I can say from the two and a half years that I’ve been here. Almost every single day, I have worked to try and bring Georgia’s political leaders together to try and bridge the deep polarization that existed long before I got here. And I think it’s important for Georgians to remember, to look back three years, four years, and remember where this depolarization came from. Things like Gavrilov’s night, things like broken political promises and anti-democratic actions. That’s where this depolarization came from, not from Western partners, who again, have only been trying to help Georgia bridge this deep polarization so that the Parliament and other institutions can focus on what’s really important to Georgians: jobs, high prices, good education, better public health. That’s what Parliament needs to be focusing on, and now, in particular, the 12 recommendations that the European Commission has put forward, including pledges that Georgia’s political leaders have made before, and said they were going to do. This is the time to get that done. This is the time to really focus, in an inclusive manner, together, to put aside differences and focus on getting that candidate status.By U.S. Embassy Tbilisi |
August 2008 Russia-Georgia war: EU reiterates its support to Georgia’s territorial integrity
The EU reiterates its condemnation of Russia’s recognition of and continued military presence in the Georgian territories of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. “It is a violation of both international law and of Russia’s commitments under the 12 August 2008 agreement,” says a press release issued by the EU Delegation to Georgia on the 14th anniversary of the August 2008 Russo-Georgian war.
“The human rights of conflict-affected communities in Georgia continue to be violated, including through so-called ’borderisation’ policies, closures of crossing points and illegal detentions. Restrictions on their freedom of movement must end,” says the press release. “We call again for accountability, including a credible investigation of all past violations of human rights to hold the perpetrators to account, to bring justice to the victims, and to ensure proper follow-up by the Russian Federation of the landmark ruling by the European Court of Human Rights on 21 January 2021.”
The EU says it remains fully committed to conflict resolution, including through its engagement as co-chair in the Geneva International Discussions, through the work of its Special Representative and the continued presence on the ground of its Monitoring Mission. The EU also reiterates its firm support to the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Georgia within its internationally recognised borders.
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Anniversary of the Russian Invasion of Georgia
Fourteen years ago today, Russia invaded the sovereign nation of Georgia. As we have done since 2008, we remember those killed and injured by Russian forces. For decades, the citizens of Georgia in Abkhazia and South Ossetia have lived under Russian occupation and tens of thousands have been displaced, persecuted, and impoverished. Lives and livelihoods have been taken from them.
This year, Russia’s unprovoked further invasion of Ukraine underscores the need for the people of Georgia and Ukraine to stand together in solidarity. The people of Georgia know all too well how Russia’s aggressive actions, including disinformation, so-called “borderization,” and mass displacement cause untold hardships and destruction.
Russia must be accountable to the commitments it made under the 2008 ceasefire – withdrawing its forces to pre-conflict positions and allowing unfettered access for the delivery of humanitarian assistance. It also must reverse its recognition of Georgia’s Abkhazia and South Ossetia regions. This is essential for hundreds of thousands of internally displaced persons to be able to return to their homes safely and with dignity.
We remain steadfast in our support for the people of Georgia as they seek to protect their sovereignty and territorial integrity and find a peaceful solution to the conflict.PRESS STATEMENT
Statement of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs On the 14th anniversary of Russia's military aggression against Georgia in August 2008
Today, the 7th of August 2022, marks the 14th year after the full-fledged military intervention of the Russian Federation against Georgia in 2008. It entailed illegal occupation of the inseparable regions of Georgia - Abkhazia and Tskhinvali region/South Ossetia and their recognition as so-called independent states by Russia.
After 14 years of the occupation, Russia does not fulfill the EU-mediated 12 August 2008 Ceasefire Agreement, and expands its illegal control in the occupied regions, continues the process of their militarization, actively undertakes steps towards their de-facto annexation. With building barbed wires and other artificial barriers along the occupation line, illegal detentions and kidnappings, gross violations of human rights and ethnic discrimination of Georgians it is undermining the security, human rights and humanitarian situation on the ground and is trying to isolate the people living in the occupied territories from the rest of Georgia and the international community.
Violation of fundamental human rights in Georgia’s Abkhazia and Tskhinvali regions, ethnic discrimination and the violation of the right of hundreds of thousands of IDPs and refugees to return to their homes in Abkhazia and Tskhinvali regions of Georgia continues to be a heavy humanitarian burden of Russia’s illegal occupation. The impunity encouraged in the cases of deprivation of lives of Davit Basharuli, Giga Otkhozoria, and Archil Tatunashvili increases the risk of further violence on ethnic grounds.
Against this background, unrestricted access of international human rights bodies and the establishment of international security mechanisms on the ground, as well as access of the EU Monitoring Mission to Abkhazia and Tskhinvali regions, which is hampered by the occupation force, is becoming even more critical.
Against this challenging backdrop, the Judgment of the European Court of Human Rights from 21 January 2021 on the 2008 Russia-Georgia war was a pivotal event. It legally confirmed the fact of occupation and effective control over Georgian regions of Abkhazia and Tskhinvali region/South Ossetia by the Russian Federation. Therefore, Russia was held accountable for the blatant violations of human rights and basic freedoms on the ground. This decision, which is the first legal assessment of the 2008 Russia-Georgia War, reveals the futility of Russia’s longstanding effort to avoid legal responsibility for the illegal occupation of Georgian regions and its consequences.
Georgia unequivocally continues implementation of the policy of peaceful resolution of the Russia-Georgia conflict and is determined to use the diplomatic and legal instruments and continue close cooperation with its international partners to ensure unification and peaceful development of the country, facilitate confidence building between the communities divided by the occupation line and creation of a common European future.
Georgia is grateful for the unwavering support of the international community to sovereignty and territorial integrity of Georgia and highly appreciates the contribution of international partners in the process of peaceful resolution of the Russia-Georgia conflict. This support is particularly crucial today when with its military aggression against Ukraine the Russian Federation continues ignoring the fundamental principles and norms of international law and undermines the entire European security.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs calls on the Russian Federation to cease illegal and provocative steps against Georgia, to respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Georgia, to fulfill the obligations under the EU-mediated 12 August 2008 Ceasefire Agreement, to withdraw its forces from the territory of Georgia and to reverse the illegal decision on recognition of the so-called independence of the occupied regions.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs appeals to the international community to continue consolidated efforts for achieving peaceful conflict settlement and de-occupation of Georgian territories, the return of IDPs and refugees to their homes, and ensuring peace and security in Georgia and the region as a whole.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs extends its condolences to the families and relatives of the soldiers and civilians who died heroically in the 2008 war.