The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia started preparations for the elections as early as in April and sent invitations to all international observers - David Zalkaliani
According to the Georgian Vice Prime Minister/Foreign Minister Davit Zalkaliani, the local self-government elections scheduled for 2 October will be monitored by international observation missions.
The Vice Prime Minister said that the Georgian government started preparations for the elections as early as in April. Formal invitations were sent to all international observer missions, including the OSCE/ODIHR EOM, as well as to all international organizations and partner countries. "Two invitations were sent, one in April, before the election date was announced, and the other – immediately after the election date was officially announced" - Zalkaliani added.
According to him, the leaders of the OSCE/ODIHR EOM are in Tbilisi and a meeting with them has already been held at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. "We help them address all organizational matters and provide them with all conditions for normal functioning, including amid the pandemic. The experience we gained from the previous elections also helps us in this" said the Foreign Minister.
The OSCE/ODIHR EOM will assign 350 short-term observers to monitor the election process in Georgia, “however, it is expected that the number of observers this time will be much higher than in previous elections, as the Foreign Ministry sent official invitations to the Parliamentary Assemblies of the Council of Europe, NATO and OSCE, as well as to various international organizations” – said the Minister.
“We’ll do our utmost to ensure that international observers do their work safely and in normal conditions” – added the Minister.
MFA of Georgia
The Vice Prime Minister of Georgia participates in the Meeting of NATO Ministers of Foreign Affairs in Riga
On 1 December 2021, the Vice Prime Minister/Foreign Minister of Georgia, David Zalkaliani participated in the Meeting of NATO Ministers of Foreign Affairs where the Foreign Ministers of Georgia and Ukraine - NATO aspirants - were invited.
During the Ministerial Meeting, the Secretary General of NATO and the Foreign Ministers of the Member states reaffirmed their support for Georgia's sovereignty and territorial integrity and its Euro-Atlantic aspirations. Highlighting that Georgia is a close partner of NATO, they underlined its contribution to global security, including NATO-led operations and missions.
It was reiterated that NATO remains committed to the decision taken at the Bucharest Summit and expresses its readiness to continue its political and practical support.
Among the issues discussed at the Ministerial Meeting was the Black Sea security. In this context, special attention was paid to the Alliance’s cooperation with the partner countries, the strengthening of their integration mechanisms and further support.
The Riga Ministerial Meeting adopted a special report on aspirant countries, which reflects the progress made by aspirant countries on the path to NATO integration, as well as specific mechanisms and new directions for assisting the aspirants on the path to membership.
The Ministerial Meeting takes on a special importance prior to the Alliance's 2022 summit, where a new strategic concept for NATO is to be approved. Within the framework of the Ministerial Meeting, Georgia had the opportunity to voice its expectations regarding the 2022 summit.
Georgia is actively involved in the process of developing NATO's 2030 strategic vision, so that important issues for Georgia are fully reflected in this strategy, which sets out the priorities for NATO for the next 10 years.
It should be noted that during the preparations for the Ministerial Meeting, Georgia developed and presented to the Alliance its visions for the country's integration into NATO, in terms of strengthening both practical and political support, including reforms, as well as enhancing the country's defense capabilities and resilience.
Georgia's participation in in the Meeting of NATO Ministers of Foreign Affairs indicates that the Alliance places high priority on the region's security and emphasizes our country’s special role in ensuring global and regional security.
USS Mount Whitney and USS Porter Arrive in Batumi, Georgia
By U.S. Naval Forces Europe and Africa / U.S. Sixth Fleet Public AffairsBATUMI, Georgia – The Blue Ridge-class command and control ship USS Mount Whitney (LCC 20) and Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer USS Porter (DDG 78) arrived in Batumi, Georgia for a scheduled port visit, Nov. 8, 2021.
The port visit highlights an important relationship between NATO allies and vital Black Sea partner Georgia. Georgia has been a consistent and steadfast partner in promoting peace and stability in the region.
Previously, USS Donald Cook (DDG 75) conducted a port visit in Batumi in February 2021. Legend-class Coast Guard Cutter Hamilton (WMSL-753) similarly stopped in Batumi in May 2021, after completing interoperability exercises with the Georgian Coast Guard.
“Georgia plays a critical role in maintaining security and stability in the Black Sea and is a valuable NATO partner,” said Rear Adm. James Morley, Deputy Commander, Naval Striking and Support Forces NATO (STRIKFORNATO). “We look forward to further enhancing the relationship between NATO and our Georgian counterparts here in Batumi.”
U.S. Sixth Fleet (SIXTHFLT) and STRIKFORNATO personnel are embarked aboard Mount Whitney, operating as an integrated team. The interoperability between the commands, and their presence in the region, demonstrates the U.S. and NATO’s commitment to the Black Sea and to working with allies and partners to advance peace and prosperity in the region.
While in Batumi, the ships’ crews will experience Georgian culture and traditions, while taking in the country’s rich history and interacting with local citizens.
“This is my first ship and first deployment with the Navy and being able to visit Georgia is exciting,” said Cryptological Technician (Technical) 2nd Class Melissa Mitchell, a Sailor assigned to Mount Whitney. “I have always wanted to go to Georgia and experience the culture and cuisine.”
While steaming to Batumi, Mount Whitney and Porter showed the power of joint operations by participating in the U.S. Air Forces Europe-Air Forces Africa (USAFE-AFAFRICA) led Operation Castle Forge. Castle Forge provides a dynamic, partnership-focused training opportunity in the Black Sea and demonstrates the joint force’s combined ability to respond in times of crisis with a flexible, reassuring presence.
Additionally, both ships partook in bilateral ship maneuvering drills, communication testing, and simulated exercises with ships from the Bulgarian Navy and Turkish Navies and were escorted into Batumi by the Georgian Coast Guard. These maneuvers, executed in accordance with international law, highlight the professionalism and skillful seamanship of all nations involved.
USS Mount Whitney, forward deployed to Gaeta, Italy, operates with a combined crew of Sailors and Military Sealift Command civil service mariners in the SIXTHFLT area of operations in support of U.S. national security interests in Europe and Africa.
STRIKFORNATO, headquartered on Oeiras, Portugal, is Supreme Allied Commander Europe’s (SACEUR) premier, rapidly deployable and flexible, maritime power projection Headquarters, capable of planning and executing full spectrum joint maritime operations, primarily through the integration of U.S. naval and amphibious forces, in order to provide assurance, deterrence, and collective defence for the Alliance.
SIXTHFLT headquartered in Naples, Italy, conducts the full spectrum of joint and naval operations, often in concert with allied and interagency partners, in order to advance U.S. national interests and security and stability in Europe and Africa.
Vice Admiral Gene Black: Good Afternoon! I’m Vice Admiral Gene Black, Commander of the Sixth Fleet, Commander of Striking and Support Forces NATO. I’m absolutely thrilled to be here on behalf of the U.S. Navy, the Sixth Fleet, and my NATO team for Striking and Support Forces NATO. What an amazingly warm welcome here in Georgia. I’d like to introduce Captain Prochazka, the Captain of my flagship, USS Mount Whitney.
Captain Prochazka: Good Afternoon and thank you for this warm welcome, the amazing ceremony, and the warm reception to your country and this amazing city.
Captain Dan Prochazka: My name is Captain Dan Prochazka, I’m the commanding officer of USS Mount Whitney. The service members and civilian mariners from Mount Whitney are excited to explore the rich culture and history of Georgia to interact with the local civilians and to work with our military partners.
Question about Georgia’s role in the Black Sea region and relationship with the country
Vice Admiral Black: I think the importance of Georgia is clear when you consider that Secretary of Defense Austin recently visited I’m here representing the Sixth Fleet and the U.S Navy and NATO. You are a very important ally and partner in the Black Sea Region and we very much look forward to operating with you and visiting with you. And thank you, again for the wonderful, warm welcome.
Remarks by EU Ambassador Carl Hartzell following the appointment of two members of the High Council of Justice
On 31 October, the Conference of Judges of Georgia elected two new judge members of the High Council of Justice. These appointments took place on the day after local elections and only four days after the publication of the Conference’s agenda. The appointees’ predecessors, two women, had unexpectedly resigned from their mandates whose terms had not expired. No announcement of candidates was made in advance of the appointments.
The appointments were hasty, non-transparent and non-competitive. They were therefore at odds with Georgia’s commitments aimed at increasing the independence, accountability, quality and trust in the Judiciary, in line with the EU-Georgia Association Agreement.
This is a fifth setback in the area of the judiciary and rule of law in Georgia, within only four months. It follows the further appointments to the Supreme Court on 12 July which lacked “integrity, objectivity and credibility” according to the OSCE/ODIHR, the failure to fulfil the necessary judicial conditions to receive an extra 75 million EUR in EU macro-financial assistance by September 2021, the non-adoption on 7 September of the constitutional amendments on the Prosecutor General’s appointment and the lack - so far - of credible investigation and prosecution of the organisers of the 5 July violence targeting over 50 journalists and activists.
These developments demonstrate yet again the urgent need to launch an ambitious judicial reform through a broad, inclusive and cross-party reform process, to which the Georgian political parties committed.
The European Union calls once more on the Georgian authorities to uphold their reform commitments, including in the justice sector, in the interest of Georgian citizens and of the future of EU-Georgia relations.
The European Union reiterates that, while it remains fully committed to support Georgia’s reforms in line with the EU-Georgia Association Agreement, the EU’s assistance to Georgia remains conditional on progress on key reforms.
Polling Process Is Complete
The polling process is complete. 1 025 406 voters took part in elections, which is 49.09% of the total number of voters. 478 642 voters participated in the polling in the capital during the day (47,7%). The COVID-19 regulations were fully adhered to at the polls. Procedural inaccuracies were detected in certain cases, though they did not cause the termination of the voting process. I would like to thank voters for being active and for following COVID-19 regulations during the polling process. Additionally, I would like to thank members of election commissions at all levels and employees for well-administering the elections. I would like to extend my gratitude to involved parties, observers, and the media.
A special, full of responsibility phase of vote counting is starting right now for the election administration. I would like to urge election commissions of all levels to follow the norms defined by the election legislation. Polling stations were closed at 20:00 according to the legislation and right now the vote-counting process is underway. Video recording of vote counting procedures is being conducted at those electoral precincts where the number of registered voters exceeded 300. After precinct election commissions’ (PECs) summary protocols are drawn up, they are being delivered to the district election commissions (DECs). The DECs will scan the PEC summary protocols and send them to the CEC in the shortest possible time. The CEC upon receipt of the PEC summary protocols will gradually upload them into special webpage results.cec.gov.ge.
Please see the following statistics - 1318 phone calls and 262 online messages were received at the CEC Contact Hub from 07:00 to 20:00. The vast majority of them concerned the voters’ request to verify their data in the list, specify addresses of their polling stations, and the election procedures. The election administration calls on all electoral stakeholders during their work to facilitate the election administration to carry out its duty in a peaceful environment so that the will of every voter is reflected and the vote-counting process is not disrupted.
Irakli Garibashvili: Almost a year ago I voiced an idea about manufacturing firearms in Georgia and today we are officially launching the production of GI-4 and every unit of it will be manufactured in the country
Georgia is launching the production of an automatic rifle of NATO standards GI-4 (5.56) at a Georgian-Israeli enterprise Delta CAA, which was incorporated at the premises of Delta, Manufacturing of the automatic firearms of NATO standards was observed by Irakli Garibashvili, Prime Minister of Georgia together with Juansher Burchuladze, Minister of Defense of Georgia and Major Gen. Giorgi Matiashvili, Chief of the Georgian Defense Forces today.
The Head of Government of Georgia underlined the significance of the enterprise, thereby noting that every unit of the rifle, including the plastic details, will be manufactured locally at the enterprise.
"It is yet another completed task. It was our promise, which I voiced almost a year ago. We started an intensive work towards it back then and you now see the outcome - joint venture manufacturing automatic rifles. We imported state-of-the-art machinery and equipment from the USA. It is the most advanced technology and every unit of the firearms is produced here. We have now officially launched the enterprise and will be producing GI-4 similar to M4, which is very important. I congratulate Delta LLC and everyone at the Ministry of Defense of Georgia with this milestone achievement. Apart from this, you may well be aware that every unit of the rifle - including the plastic details - will be produced locally at the enterprise. We trained our staff - people who work here. This is a very important achievement and I congratulate everyone with the commissioning of this utterly vital enterprise" noted the Prime Minister of Georgia.
Automatic rifles of NATO standards - GI-4 (5.56) will be manufactured at the enterprise for the defense forces of Georgia. It will facilitate the supply of modern firearms to the military divisions of the country. This project was initiated in the country during the time when Irakli Garibashvili served as a Minister of Defense. New Georgian-Israeli enterprise is equipped with state-of-the-art machinery and equipment manufactured in leading countries of the world. Full technological cycle of production will be performed locally to manufacture GI-4 (5.56) in Georgia. Functionalities of the enterprise will further broaden in future to enable for the production of various firearms and accessories. It will also be possible to modernize various weapons at the enterprise. In addition, it is planned to produce output for export markets in future. Company employs outstanding graduates of higher education institutions, who have already been retrained.
Press Service of the Government Administration