On 16 June, the European Union and the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) donated four modern boats to Georgia’s Coast Guard.
These rapide response boats with a total cost of around 5 million laris will be deployed in Poti and Batumi. They will support the Coast Guard in patrolling coastal waters and conducting effective search and rescue operations, as well as to enhance interdiction capabilities.
The main technical specifications of the boats have been tailored to the needs of the Coast Guard to ensure compatibility with the maritime surveillance equipment and systems already in place in Georgia.
“Safe and secure borders are key for citizens in Georgia, as in any country. Ensuring security of and around the Black Sea – the physical bridge between the EU and Georgia – is a shared priority for both Georgia and the EU,” said Catalin Gherman, from the EU Delegation to Georgia, during the ceremony in Poti.
The boats were donated within the project ‘Support to Integrated Border Management in Georgia’, implemented by the IOM in the framework of the EU’s ‘EU4 Security, Accountability and Fight against Crime in Georgia’ (SAFE) programme.
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Question about the event
Ambassador Kelly Degnan: We are delighted to be here tonight to celebrate 30 years of diplomatic relations between the United States and Georgia. I’ve had a chance to visit with some of our partners during the two days I’ve been here so far, but tonight’s reception is to thank our wonderful partners here in Adjara for all of the great work that we’ve been doing together over the last 30 years. There have been some really important initiatives that have helped develop the economy, develop civil society, develop democracy and local governance, as well as security cooperation, and many other areas that we’re working on with our Georgian partners here in the entire region. So, tonight is really our thank you.
Question on Georgia’s EU application and the possibility of receiving candidate status
Ambassador Kelly Degnan: For 30 years, the United States has been working toward Georgia’s full integration into the Euro-Atlantic community of nations. Almost everything that we have done and are doing here in Georgia is designed to support the people of Georgia’s desire to be part of the European Union and to be part of NATO. That is what the people of Georgia want, and that is what the United States firmly supports. We have been advocating on behalf of Georgia’s EU candidacy because we want to see Georgia succeed in its European aspirations.
When I hear people say that the United States is working against Georgia or trying to drag Georgia into the war or open a “second front,” that is a hundred percent Russian disinformation. That is absolutely not true. The United States has done everything we can to stop this war, to stop the fighting. Even before hostilities broke open, the United States was the country that was working hardest to prevent this war from happening. We absolutely do not want to see Georgia dragged into this war. In our view, what the European Union – what NATO stands for is peace, stability, prosperity. You can see it in every country you’re in: the stability and prosperity and the peace that come with being part of the Euro-Atlantic community. And we want that for Georgia too. We know that’s what the Georgian people want as well. So, we’re going to continue to be fully committed to Georgia’s sovereignty, to its territorial integrity, and to its desire to be fully integrated into the Euro-Atlantic family of nations.
Question about the Prime Minister’s recent comments
Ambassador Kelly Degnan: I won’t speak on behalf of the Prime Minister, but what I can say is I don’t know anybody in Georgia who wants Georgia to be part of this war. I think everybody in Georgia is – and certainly, the United States is very aware—of what Georgians have gone through and how they are feeling. What’s going on in the outpouring of humanitarian assistance and support for Ukraine is a good indication of where Georgians’ hearts are in this fight. What is really needed is not this fighting amongst Georgians. It’s for Georgians to come together. This is one issue where I would hope Georgia’s leaders could put aside their differences and come together in the interest of this country’s future: in the interest of this country’s stability and prosperity. Unity is what is needed right now, not more fighting: unity. I would love to see Georgians live up to their motto of “dzala ertobashia” that’s what’s needed right now.
Irakli Garibashvili: This visit by American command ships is yet another clear demonstration of the strong strategic relations between Georgia and the US
I welcome our strategic allies and partners visiting Batumi Port, and I welcome American command ships, their crews and personnel, Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili stated today in Batumi, aboard USS Mount Whitney.
According to the Head of Government, this port visit by American command ships is yet another clear demonstration of the strong strategic relations between Georgia and the US.
"Georgia is very important country in the Black Sea region. Our geographic location has a profound significance. Georgia is a loyal ally and participant of global security. We understand well the importance of Black Sea security, and we are committed to assisting our allies in this direction. We share the responsibility of cementing regional peace and stability, and we will continue doing everything to that end. Army command compatibility, partnership-oriented drills, and the unity of our forces in times of crisis offer the best way to ensure security in the region. I am happy to see that our friends, during their stay in Batumi, will have an opportunity to familiarize themselves with our country's rich history, culture, and traditions. Along with our guests, I would like to express enormous gratitude to the US Government and the American people, each American, who have stood by Georgia since the regaining of independence. On behalf of our Government and the Georgian people, I once again thank you visiting, and I wish you a successful stay," the Prime Minister addressed the crews and personnel of the American ships.
The guests aboard the USS were also addressed by US Ambassador to Georgia Kelly Degnan and Commander of the Sixth Fleet/Vice Admiral Gene Black.
"It is an honor to welcome to Georgia USS Mount Whitney and Arleigh Burke-class destroyer Porter. Many representatives of the crews and personnel of these ships are visiting this beautiful country for the first time, though the ships themselves have been here many times before. We are very proud of their return today. In September of 2008, after Russia's invasion of Georgia, Mount Whitney delivered 17 tons of much-needed humanitarian aid from the USAID, marking the first visit of the ship to the Black Sea water area, and look at Georgia's immense progress since! The history of these glorious ships, and the capabilities and achievements of their crews, are truly impressive. This visit reaffirms that the United States and Georgia, as partners, are committed to the idea of security and defense. Less than a month has passed since the recent visit by the US Defense Secretary, who reminisced about his time together with Georgian troops on battlefield and expressed gratitude to them. Alongside troops from the North Atlantic Alliance's member states and allies, more than 22,000 Georgians have participated in trainings and battles. The crews and personnel of these ships enable the US to carry out integrated aerial, land, and maritime operations with military and humanitarian missions, whenever we are called and whenever we are needed in the world. Your being here also reaffirms the unwavering commitment of the United States to Georgia's sovereignty and territorial integrity. Thank you, Mister Prime Minister, Mister Vice Prime Minister, Mister Defense Minister, Mister Chief of Defense Forces, and heads of the border guard and maritime patrol services, for facilitating this visit-and, more importantly, for your strong support of our security and defense partnership," Ambassador Degnan said.
Vice Admiral Gene Black thanked Georgia and Batumi for hosting the US ships and crews.
"Georgia's support makes a direct contribution to maritime security in the Black Sea Region. Our host city has embraced our crews and personnel with genuine warmth and hospitality. I deeply appreciate that. I am also grateful to Georgia's Defense Forces and the Georgian people for supporting US- and NATO-led missions. Georgia is our strategic partner, and our support for the country remains unwavering. The United States remain committed to maintaining close bilateral relations and assisting Georgia in developing its defense capabilities. Your contribution to our joint security effort testifies to the strength of our strategic partnership and to the common maritime interests and values we share. US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, during his visit to Georgia last months, stated that ‘Georgia has consistently and resolutely supported the United States in ensuring peace and stability in this region. I am happy to have this opportunity to reaffirm our strong support for Georgia's sovereignty and territorial integrity.' The United States Navy-together with the member states and allies of the North Atlantic Alliance, including Georgia-is bolstering maritime security and stability in the Black Sea Region. No single country can deal with all threats on its own, the reason why I, on behalf of the United States of America and the North Atlantic Alliance and the Sixth Fleet, I thank Georgia for this opportunity further strengthening our relations," Vice Admiral Gene Black stated.
Press Service of the Government Administration
By U.S. Naval Forces Europe and Africa / U.S. Sixth Fleet Public Affairs
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.
Search and rescue operations by the staff of the Ministry of Internal Affairs is in progress at the site of the collapsed residential building in Batumi. Late at night, rescuers found the bodies of 4 people under the rubble.
As soon as the notification on the collapse of the residential building located on 26 May Street in Batumi was received at the Ministry of Internal Affairs, rescue and police forces were mobilized at the site, as well as ambulance crews.
According to initial reports, the entrance of the residential building collapsed. Upon arrival at the scene, firefighters evacuated the population from the neighboring flats of the collapsed residential building, as well as from vehicles caught in the debris.
At the moment, the area is being cleared of rubble and active search and rescue operations are underway. The Ministry of Internal Affairs has launched an investigation on the fact of building collapse; the information regarding the number of injured persons is being clarified at the moment.
Along with firefighters, special equipment has already been mobilized at the site, including aerial ladder fire truck. In addition, the staff of the Special Tasks Department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the Forensic-Criminalistics Department have also been mobilized. The additional live force is being deployed from the neighboring regions of Adjara as well.
The territory adjacent to the accident is condoned off due to security measures. The Ministry of Internal Affairs calls on the citizens, as well as the representatives of all media sources on the ground, to follow the instructions of the employees of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and to observe the safety norms.
2021 Batumi International Conference will kick off today in a hybrid format due to the ongoing pandemic.
The main spotlight is on the upgraded level of cooperation between the three EU Associated Partners – Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine – recently formalized as the Associated Trio, the organizers said.
The three Partners are determined to accelerate the reforms envisaged by their respective Association Agreements with the European Union that contain provisions on Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Areas and prepare the next stage of their European integration.
“The panel will discuss possible interests of the EU to engage further in the enhanced integration process with the three Eastern European partners. Also, deliberate more on the European enthusiasm of the three countries while also reflecting on how the new format will complement the future of the Eastern Partnership,” the statement reads.
Charles Michel and the presidents of Moldova and Ukraine will participate in today’s Conference.
Tbilisi, 17 September, 2020. The Czech Development Agency continues to support Georgian healthcare system by launching new instrument “Tied Financial Donation”. The first beneficiaries in Georgia are state Republican hospitals in Batumi and Rukhi, which will get Czech medical devices.
A contract was signed today on behalf of the Czech Development Agency by the Ambassador of the Czech Republic in Tbilisi, Mr. Petr Mikyska, Mr. Irakli Gvazava Acting Director of Rukhi Republican hospital and representative of Batumi Republican Hospital to lay foundation for new cooperation.
The two hospitals are newly built and started partial functioning after COVID-19 pandemic hit the country. However, not all the departments have necessary equipment. Recognizing the problem, the aid aims to ensure modern technologies are provided to both hospitals in order to enhance and improve services provided by them.
The new Republican Batumi hospital is designed for 170 beds. For the first time in its history, hospital will offer citizens the service of midwifery and pediatric medical care and Czech products are designed for it. Meanwhile, Rukhi Republican hospital is designed for 220 beds and by getting new equipment, they will improve surgical and intensive care departments.
The new cooperation also involves trainings for hospitals’ staff, provided by Czech professionals, who will share their experience and simplify the use of new technologies. The Czech Republic will continue to support both hospitals in the future.
New equipment will be delivered in two stages before the end of 2020. Total cost amounts to EUR 371 000, from which Batumi Republican hospital will get EUR 186 000 and Rukhi Republican hospital EUR 185 000.
- Visa became the official sponsor of the Black see Jazz Festival
- Consumers paying with their Visa cards issued by TBC bank will get discounts at the Black sea Jazz Festival
Tbilisi, 21 August 2020 – Visa today announced that it will be sponsoring theBlack sea Jazz Festival, one of the most visited and popular music event in Georgia. The event, taking place in Batumi over three days from 21-23 August, will host thousands music lovers enjoying live performances from artists including headliners: Giorgi Mikadze, Nino Katamadze, Luka Topuria’s trio, Stephane, Young Georgian Lolitaz and MokuMoku.
To make the music experience even more enjoyable for the festival-goers, Visa and its partners TBC Bank and Eastern Promotions are offering some additional perks to all cardholders of Visa cards issued by TBC bank, including 10% cashback while purchasing tickets and 10% discount on spot in the bar.
“Visa is a partner of numerous major global and national projects, including the Olympic Games and FIFA™ World Cups," said Cristina Doros, country manager for the Caucasus region, Visa, CISSEE. “Regional and local sponsorship is also our focus, and we are proud of our successful partnership with music festivals in Ukraine, Georgia, Belarus and Serbia. Music brings people together and talks to everyone with universal language of melody, rhythm and emotion. For us as a global brand, partnering with Black Sea Jazz Festival is an opportunity to contribute to the cultural heritage of Georgia, interact with our business partners and Visa cardholders at an emotional level, and encourage cashless payments via explicit demonstration of their advantages for the consumers.”
“We are pleased to host 14th Black Sea Jazz Festival, despite difficult times, and we are honored to have such a reliable partner as Visa. In these times, it was crucial to support Georgian artists and not to break our annual tradition of hosting festival, which everyone is awaiting year after year. This year music lovers will enjoy the program specially prepared by the Georgian artists for this festival,” – noted the representatives of Eastern Promotions.
About Visa Inc.
Visa Inc. (NYSE: V) is the world’s leader in digital payments. Our mission is to connect the world through the most innovative, reliable and secure payment network - enabling individuals, businesses and economies to thrive. Our advanced global processing network, VisaNet, provides secure and reliable payments around the world, and is capable of handling more than 65,000 transaction messages a second. The company’s relentless focus on innovation is a catalyst for the rapid growth of connected commerce on any device, and a driving force behind the dream of a cashless future for everyone, everywhere. As the world moves from analog to digital, Visa is applying our brand, products, people, network and scale to reshape the future of commerce. For more information, visit www.corporate.visa.com, www.visasoutheasteurope.com, https://www.facebook.com/VisaGeorgiaGE, www.visanewscissee.com
On 29 June, a five-day water monitoring survey started in Batumi, Georgia, organised by the EU-funded project ‘European Union Water Initiative Plus for the Eastern Partnership’ (EUWI+).
The survey is carried out by Georgian experts from the National Environmental Agency. It aims to assess the quality of coastal and transitional water ecosystems to help identify appropriate measures to protect water resources.
Apart from the survey, the EU also supports the upgrade of Batumi’s laboratory by organising training courses for experts and providing new state-of-the-art analysis equipment. This aims to improve Georgia’s capacities to manage its water resources.
Two similar surveys were held in September and November 2019. The surveys allowed the National Environmental Agency to determine the ecological status of coastal waters in the Chorokhi-Adjaristskali River Basin District.
The EUWI+ project helps Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine to bring their legislation closer to EU water management policies, with a main focus on managing transboundary river basins.