“Today when Georgia is so closely linked to Europe and aspiring to its European roots, the Leuville Georgian Academy takes on a particular importance” – David Zalkaliani
The Vice Prime Minister/Foreign Minister, David Zalkaliani, the Minister of Culture, Sport and Youth Affairs, Tea Tsulukiani, together with the Leuville Mayor participated in the ceremony marking the completion of the first stage of Leuville Estate rehabilitation works, including the opening of the Orangery Building.
The ceremony was attended by Diaspora representatives, members of the Parliament, the Embassy of Georgia to the French Republic and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Speaking before the audience, the Georgian Vice Prime Minister emphasized the importance of the Leuville estate in terms of strengthening the Georgian identity in Europe.
“The transfer of Leuville Estate to Georgia in 2016 represents fulfilment of the last wish of the members of Georgia's First Democratic Republic”- said Zalkaliani. According to him, for many years the Leuville Estate served as a kind of haven for Georgian political emigrants.
In the words of the Minister, extensive works, both organizational and technical, have been recently completed through the involvement of both Georgian and French experts. The rehabilitation of Leuville Chateau and the construction of new facilities will start in the near future.
It needs to be highlighted that the Ministry of Culture, Sport and Youth Affairs was tasked by the Government to lead the second stage of reconstruction-rehabilitation works given the fact that the second stage is largely made up of cultural components. David Zalkaliani thanked Tea Tsulukiani success in her efforts to bring to completion the Leuville Estate rehabilitation project. He also expressed his gratitude to the French side.
Within the framework of the visit to the French Republic, the Georgian delegation led by the Vice Prime Minister/Foreign Minister, David Zalkaliani and the Minister of Culture, Sport and Youth Affairs, Tea Tsulukiani paid tribute to the memory of members of the First Democratic Republic of Georgia and historical diaspora representatives reposed in Leuville cemetery.
David Zalkaliani and Tea Tsulukiani visited the Leuville-sur-Orge commune to mark the completion of the first part of the rehabilitation works ongoing in Leuville Estate.
Statement of the MFA Georgia
David Zalkaliani has held a farewell meeting with the Bulgarian Ambassador to Georgia
On 23 July 2021, the Vice Prime-Minister, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Georgia, David Zalkaliani held a farewell meeting with the Bulgarian Ambassador to Georgia, Desislava Ivanova.
The Minister highlighted the Bulgarian Ambassador’s outstanding contribution towards strengtyhening traditionally friendly relations between Georgia and Bulgaria. Talking points included the increasing dynamics of high-level visits and successful sectoral cooperation. Special focus was placed on trade-economic links, cooperation in the sectors of transport and communications, education and culture.
Desislava Ivanova, for her part, expressed her gratitude to the Minister for the fruitful cooperation between the two countris in bilateral and multilateral formats. The Ambassador reaffirmed Bulgaria’s firm support for Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, as well as European and Euro-Atlantic integration.
At the end of the meeting, the Minister thanked the Ambassador for her active work during the past five years and wished her success in her future career.
David Zalkaliani and Olivér Várhelyi have discussed the EU investment plan for 2022
On 7 July 2021, the Georgian Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, David Zalkaliani held a meeting with the European Commissioner for Neighbourhood and Enlargement, Olivér Várhelyi. Discussing important dimensions of EU-Georgian relations, the sides expressed their commitment to further deepen cooperation.
Particular attention was paid to the EU investment plan for 2022, which determines goals of the Eastern Partnership beyond 2020. The sides highly appraised the economic and investment plan envisaging mobilization of assistance for partner countries in their efforts to eliminate negative consequences of the pandemic and achieve economic recovery. The sides also discussed Georgia-initiated flagship initiatives, including those on Black Sea energy, transport and digital connectivity, fully reflecting the priorities of the Georgian government.
Talking points also included expectations for Eastern Partnership Summit scheduled for December 2021, where EaP goals beyond 2021 will be approved and Joint Declaration will be adopted.
The sides also spoke about the need to maintain security and stability in the region and Georgia’s important role in this context. Special attention was paid to the situation in Georgia’s occupied territories and the EU’s role in the peaceful resolution of the Russia-Georgia conflict.
Our goal and ambition is to create a unified national process and to develop a strategic vision on de-occupation and peaceful conflict resolutionAccording to the Vice Prime Minister/Foreign Minister, David Zalkaliani, the Prime Minister and Government of Georgia launched Government Commission to elaborate and implement the Georgian State Strategy for De-occupation and Peaceful Conflict Resolution. The Commission will be chaired and coordinated by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia.
In the words of Zalkaliani, this will be a highly responsible and inclusive process, which will involve all segments of society, including state agencies and institutions, as well as civil society – research centres, non-governmental organizations, experts, conflict-affected community and the wider community.
“Our goal and ambition is to create a unified national process and, rather than division and break-up, to develop a common state approach to and a strategic vision on the de-occupation and peaceful conflict resolution. By the end of the year, an increasing number of meetings, dialogues, discussions and consultations will be held at the interagency level, as well as with the involvement of civil society, in order to jointly develop a state vision on a peaceful and unified Georgia” – Zalkaliani said.
According to the Vice Prime Minister, amid the escalating security environment in our region and the newly emerged geopolitical challenges facing the country, as well as against the background of Russia’s constant provocations and steps towards de-facto annexation of Georgian territories leading to the gradually deteriorating situation in Georgia’s Abkhazia and Tskhinvali regions, Georgia’s policy in the face of new challenges needs to be more effective. In order to duly respond to new challenges in the region, it is critically important to create a revised, comprehensive and inclusive peace policy, involving the wider community – the policy which will provide for result-oriented activities in all strategic areas: withdrawal of the Russian troops from the Georgian territory, conflict resolution, establishment of peace and security, return of IDPs, offering a dignified future and best development prospects to the conflict-affected communities in Sokhumi and Tskhinvali, as well as Shamgona and Khurvaleti.
“We should do our utmost to be able to live in a Georgia where there will be no occupation forces and dividing lines. We heavily rely on our strategic partners in achieving the foregoing. Our unity and inclusive peace process is critically important to get started the process of de-occupation and unification, through the proactive involvement of the international community” – the Foreign Minister is quoted as saying.
Georgia’s development cannot be complete or successful without the engagement of our diaspora – D. ZalkalianiOur administration fully comprehends the significant role that the Georgian diaspora plays in the development of our country. This is precisely why taking care of our citizens abroad and protecting their interests is of utmost importance to us” – stated the Georgian Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, David Zalkaliani, on a forum dedicated to the Georgian diaspora – “Strong Diaspora for a United Georgia” – he stated.
The Minister expressed gratitude towards the representatives of the Georgian diaspora, whose efforts, according to the statement of the Minister, are directed towards ensuring tighter contact with our homeland, retaining their national identity.Additionally, the head of the Foreign Ministry particularly underscored the significance of active diaspora organisations, noting that their efforts, even as the Pandemic raged globally, were directed towards helping our citizens overcome social, economic and moral problems.According to the Minister the state takes full legal responsibility for our citizens abroad, protecting them and taking care of them, which is guaranteed by the Georgian constitution, along with high level legislation and strategic documentation.According to the statement of the head of the Georgian Foreign Ministry, despite the challenges associated with the pandemic, our relations with our diaspora have only improved becoming more active:- We continue intensive communication with our citizens both as the executive branch of government as well as the legislative.- Projects and programmes are implemented, which aim towards opening Sunday Schools, folk ensembles, organising cultural gatherings and supporting other diaspora initiatives.- Regional conferences and thematic forums are held in participation with our diaspora representatives.- With the efforts of our Embassies more than 100 Sunday Schools have already been opened, that continue to successfully operate, providing courses on the Georgian language, with another 110 folk ensembles also already set up.- Significant progress has been made in terms of coordination with our diaspora organisations – currently just under 300 diaspora organisations operate in various countries.- Active cooperation continues with international organisations – (IOM, ICMPD and GIZ).During his address, David Zalkaliani paid particular thanks to the Georgian President, Salome Zourabichvili, noting the significant role of the president in terms of deepening cooperation with our diaspora abroad.
The Minister also noted the support of the Georgian PM, Irakli Gharibashvili, in terms of our relations with our diaspora.David Zalkaliani also underscored the role of the Church in terms of our relations with our diaspora.Additionally, the minister presented the attendees with information regarding the Leuville Estate. According to said information, the first stage of rehabilitation and reconstruction of the aforementioned estate has been completed in due time – the smaller, so called “Greenhouse Project”. Currently the second stage of the “general project” is under planning, which shall be completed by 2024 (2 years prior to previous plans).
Within the framework of the forum two thematic meetings were also held: 1) “Economy and Business – Georgian Diaspora for the Development of our Country”, and 2) “Education and Culture”.The attendees were also addressed by the Georgian President, PM, Speaker of Parliament, Kakha Kuchava, Deputy Speaker, Levan Ioseliani and the head of the committee of the Parliament of Georgia on diaspora and Caucasus issues, Beka Odisharia.
The 131st session of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe
The Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe held its 131st Session by videoconference, on 21 May 2021, where Germany passed its chairmanship to Hungary. The Georgian Foreign Minister, Vice Prime Minister David Zalkaliani spoke before the participants of the Ministerial Meeting, which took note of the Secretary General’s 23rd consolidated report on “the Conflict in Georgia” covering the humanitarian and human rights situation in Georgia’s occupied territories from October 2020 to March 2021.
The Ministerial Meeting highlighted the decision adopted by Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe on “Council of Europe and the Conflict in Georgia” which holds Russia as the State exercising effective control over the occupied regions, accountable for the deplorable situation on the ground.
Speaking before the Ministerial Meeting, the Georgian Foreign Minister reaffirmed Georgia’s commitment to the organization’s principles and values, and the initiatives the government carries out to bring the country closer to the organization’s standards.
Discussing the difficult security and human rights situation in Georgia’s occupied regions, the Minister said that Russia’s illegal activities bring about negative consequences for the local population. Paying special attention to increasing number of illegal detentions by the occupation regime, Zalkaliani expressed his grave concern over the decision to prolong for more than twelve years the illegal detention of Georgian citizen Zaza Gakheladze, and called for the international community’s strong position for immediately release of Zaza Gakheladze and all other illegal detainees. Referring to the judgment dated 21 January 2021 of the European Court of Human Rights in the case Georgia v. Russia, Zalkaliani said that this judgement lays down the firm groundwork for the success of Georgia’s efforts to achieve the de-occupation of Georgian territories and protection of human rights of the people affected by the Russian aggression.
It needs to be highlighted that the Hungarian Presidency identified as its priority the environmental challenges – one of the priorities of the Georgian presidency of the Committee of Ministers (November 2019 – May 2020).
“The environmental emergency, and especially climate change are among the greatest threats to human rights in our age. Continuing the process started by the Georgian Presidency, the Hungarian Presidency will also aim to strengthen environmental protection work in the Council of Europe through its existing instruments to secure better human rights protection standards in member States” – reads the document on Priorities of the Hungarian Presidency of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia expresses its thanks for the efforts of the German Presidency, welcomes the priorities presented by the Hungarian Presidency and pledges its full support for its implementation.