David Zalkaliani hosted his Guatemalan counterpart
Georgian Foreign Minister David Zalkaliani hosted his Guatemalan counterpart Sandra Jovel Polanco, who arrived in Georgia for her first official visit.
The sides discussed a broad spectrum of issues on the agenda of bilateral relatons, including priorities of cooperation in the political, trade-economic, cultural and educational areas. Special note was taken of the progress in deepening bilateral cooperation, as well as in achieving mutual support for important issues within multilateral formats.
The sides highlighted the ways to share Georgia’s experience of reforms both at the bilateral level and under the aegis of the Central American Integration System where Georgia enjoys an observer status.
Discussing the situation in Georgia’s occupied territories, the sides paid special attention to the challenges facing regional security. The two ministers expressed their common position with respect to the crisis in Venezuela.
Within the framework of her visit, Sandra Jovel Polanco laid a wreath at the memorial of heroes fallen for the unity of Georgia.
The Guatemalan Foreign Minister also visited the City Hall and familiarized herself with Georgia’s reforms in providing public services.
David Zalkaliani has held a telephone conversation with Federica Mogherini
Georgian Foreign Minister David Zalkaliani held a telephone conversation with EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini.
Discussing the ongoing processes in Georgia’s occupied regions, the sides paid special attention to the difficult human rights situation on the ground.
The Georgian Foreign Minister informed the EU High Representative in detail about the recent developments across the occupation line, including the erection of artificial barriers by the Russian occupation forces in the vicinity of the village of Gugutiantkari and restriction of the local population’s right to free movement.
Highlighting the European Union’s important role in pursuing the peaceful conflict resolution policy, the sides underscored the necessity to keep Georgia atop the international agenda.
While on the theme of an increasing number of incidents across the occupation line, the sides stressed the need to discuss the aforementioned issues at the IPRM meetings, as well as within the framework of the Geneva International Discussions. Special note, in this light, was taken of the importance of the EU Special Representative’s visit to Georgia.
David Zalkaliani thanked Federica Mogherini for the activities of the EUMM as the only international monitoring mechanism on the ground, which plays an important part in de-escalating the situation and further improving the security environment.
The EU High Representative reaffirmed her support for Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.
David Zalkaliani has discussed the situation in Gugutiantkari with the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office
Georgian Foreign Minister David Zalkaliani had a telephone conversation with OSCE Chairperson-in-Office, Minister of Foreign and European Affairs, Miroslav Lajčák on the continuation of illegal process of erecting artificial barriers in the village of Gugutiantkari.
David Zalkaliani provided the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office with detailed information on the increasing number of provocations across the occupation line, including the installation of artificial barriers in Gugutiantkari and the kidnapping of 8 citizens of Georgia from there.
According to the Minister, the erection of artificial barriers in the village of Gugutiantkari coupled with the continued practice of illegal detentions and kidnappings of Georgian citizens by the occupation forces aggravates the already difficult humanitarian situation and the security environment on the ground, and represents a clear attempt to further destabilize the situation.
Zalkaliani urged the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office to employ all international levers at his disposal to ensure that the illegal installation process is stopped and the kidnapped citizens of Georgia are returned to their families.
The Georgian Foreign Minister also urged Miroslav Lajčák to place the issue of Georgia high on the international agenda. The sides also highlighted the importance of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office’s arrival in Georgia to assess the situation on the ground.
Reaffirming his support for Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office emphasized the need to ensure security on the ground.
David Zalkaliani has arrived in the village of Gugutiantkari
Georgian Foregn Minister David Zalkaliani arrived today in the village of Gugutiantkari to see for himself the situation on the ground and hear directly from the local people about their needs and concerns.
Zalkaliani provided the local population with detailed information on the steps taken by the Foreign Ministry in reaction to the illegal activities of the occupation forces.
The Minister discussed with representatives of the local municipality the situation in the village, including the artificial fences erected by the occupation forces.
According to the Minister, Georgia enjoys the international community’s firm support and the actions of the occupation regime are condemned.
“I assure you we are using all resources and international mechanisms available to us. It is not easy to achieve that the UN Secuirty Council convenes its debates but we achieved this. Our partners made very strong and condemning statements” – Zalkaliani said.
According to the Minister, the Ministry works around-th-clock to constantly update the international partners on the ongoing processs.
Georgia sets an example of tolerance for the world to follow – David Zalkaliani
Washington - The Georgian Foreign Minister David Zalkaliani spoke before the Ministerial Meeting to promote the Religious Freedom organized in Washington D.C.
He extensively spoke about the experience of Georgia as a multicultural and multiethnic country, whose history provides an example to follow in terms of unique tolerance. According to Zalkaliani, for centuries, Georgia has been and remains a special place where various ethnic and religious minorities live peacefully and worship freely, side by side. He said that tolerance to diversity is an inherent part of the Georgian way of life and the value on which the entire European community is based. Besides, “the culture of diversity, deeply rooted in our society, plays an essential role in Georgia’s democratic and economic development as well as in advancing our European and Euro-Atlantic aspirations”.
The Minister highlighted that the Georgian Constitution enshrines absolute freedom of religion and equality for all. The national human rights strategy and action plan translates this provision into concrete policy and action.
The Minister drew the attention of the attending audience to Russia’s violations of human rights, including religious freedom, in the occupied regions.
According to Zalkaliani As a result of Russia’s 2008 invasion of Georgia and subsequent occupation, those regions became black spots of human rights violations. For more than a decade, the Georgian parish and orthodox clergy have not been allowed to enter the occupied territories for religious services and ethnic Georgians living in these areas are deprived of their right to celebrate religious holidays or attend services in their native language.
Access to churches and cemeteries in the occupied territories is restricted due to barbed wire fences and artificial barriers installed by the occupation regimes have along the dividing line. Those who try to visit are running the risk of detention by the so-called border guards.
Moreover, significant number of Georgian orthodox churches and monasteries in the occupied territories are either destroyed or at risk of irreversible damage aimed at obliterating any association with Georgian history and religious identity. The situation is even more alarming provided that international organizations do not have access to the occupied regions of Georgia.
“Georgia remains firmly committed to the peaceful conflict resolution and unilaterally undertakes all efforts to move forward in this regard. I take this opportunity to ask the international community to once again send a strong message to Russia that its policy directed against the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Georgia is unacceptable” – the Georgian Foreign Minister said.
Zalkaliani once again reaffirmed Georgia’s readiness to further undertake the role of a mediator among various cultures and to continue its active engagement in bridging different religious communities.
David Zalkaliani will address the Ministerial to promote the Religious Freedom organized in Washington D.C.
Washington - The Georgian Foreign Minister David Zalkaliani, upon invitation from the Us State Secretary Mike Pompeo, is participating at the Ministerial to promote the Religious Freedom organized in Washington D.C.
The head of the Georgian Foreign Ministry will address the participants of the conference today. In his speech the Minister will focus attention on the situation in Georgia in terms of religious freedom, will also emphasize the role of Georgia as a point of historical connection between different cultures and religions as well as the importance of the tradition of tolerance. In his speech David Zalkaliani will pay special attention to the complicated situation created in the occupied regions of Georgia in terms of protection of the human rights, including the facts of violation of religious freedom and damaging of the religious monuments of cultural heritage.