The President of Georgia: We Develop Georgia in the European Direction, in Hope That the Population, Living in the Occupied Territories, Will Also Benefit From ItWednesday, 29 March 2017 12:40
The President of Georgia, H.E. Giorgi Margvelashvili and the President of the Republic of Latvia, H.E. Raimonds Vējonis have made joint press statements, highlighted the prospects of strengthening relations between Latvia and Georgia, and expanded on the issues discussed at tete-a-tete and extended meetings.
“It is symbolic that today, when Georgia has taken another important step in the European integration process, our country is visited by the Head of the country, which has greatly supported Georgia in the process of European and Euro-Atlantic integration. Here is the person, who has been supporting us throughout the years in overcoming the most difficult challenges.
Mr. President Vējonis is our truly outstanding friend and I would like to personally thank him for his firm support of Georgia.
We have discussed bilateral and multilateral cooperation, which Georgia and Latvia develop for the well-being of Georgian and Latvian people.
We have also discussed the regional cooperation between our countries. There are numerous available potentials of strengthening multilateral relations between Georgia and Latvia and they will definitely be realized. This includes strengthening cooperation in the areas of military, economics, education, science, and culture.
I would also like to underscore the special interest of our countries in the cooperation between the Black and Baltic Sea regions. Interesting projects can be implemented in this direction and I am sure that our mutual vision will lead to their implementation.
On the path of European and Euro-Atlantic integration, which our society has chosen and which is supported by our partners, we have a very clear and united vision.
In this context, the aggressive policy, carried out by our Northern neighbor is obviously a difficulty and I would like to thank Mr. President for clearly stating his position in this regard and condemning the occupation and annexation policy.
Mr. President, during these days, we have delivered a clear message to our peoples and the international community, through the present business agreements and strengthening relations between the two countries, that friendship between Georgia and Latvia is a guarantee of our countries’ and regions’ development. Thank you once again for being with us on this important occasion, to which you have a significant contribution.
I would like to stress the fact that our citizens, living in the conflict zone, obviously, will benefit from this decision. We strengthen and develop our country in the European direction, in hope that our citizens, including the ones living in the occupied territories, will benefit from it.
I believe that the European integration will provide the European ways of solving our conflicts. Solution of the conflicts that exist between us and the citizens, living in the occupied territories, should firstly be peaceful, and secondly, in accordance to the format and the tradition of the European states.
Therefore, will it be the Association Agreement or a step taken forward in the visa liberalization process, all these bring us closer to the European political culture and the solution of our conflicts within the format of this political culture. I believe that the time will come soon when we will all get through the pain and emotions and reach a united, strong, and the European vision Georgia. Through our joint efforts, we will definitely reach this vision”, - stated President Margvelashvili.
President Vējonis has congratulated Georgian population on the successful termination of the visa liberalization process and the commencement day of the visa-free regime.
“The President has already mentioned that this visit is also very symbolic because a visa-free regime for the Georgian citizens to the Schengen area enters into force today. It is a proof that a reform process of Georgia has been successful. I am confident that visa-free travel will bring Georgia closer to Europe and hope that it will have a positive impact on the Latvian and Georgian bilateral cooperation and contacts of our peoples as well. […] The Association Agreement between Georgia and the European Union have opened a door for more intensive business contacts. We are ready to continue sharing our reform experience to Georgia.
We believe that each country has a right to make independent and sovereign choices on foreign and security policy, free from external pressures. We welcome choices that Georgia has made and we continue to strongly support Georgia’s Euro-Atlantic aspirations. Georgia is one of the closest partners for NATO and the European Union and the instruments to deepen our relations are in place. They just need to be fully implemented. Latvia has always supported strengthening Georgia-EU relations and the main priority is to make a full use of the Association Agreement.
As the President said, Georgia is an important NATO partner and despite other immediate challenges the alliance is confronted with, Georgia stays high on our agenda and we will always support Georgia’s aspirations to join NATO. Georgian government has made a clear commitment toward Euro-Atlantic integration during the past years, a lot has been done on Georgia’s integration path. Georgia has been serving as an example for other aspirant countries with its dedication and hard work. It is important to continue this progress under the Substantial NATO-Georgian package, it will boost Georgia’s defense capacities to better provide for your security, as well as strengthen relations with NATO member countries. It will also help Georgia to prepare for Georgia’s eventual membership.
I would like to state that Latvia condemns actions aimed at undermining Georgia’s territorial integrity. The so-called parliamentary and presidential elections, as well as the so-called referendums in breakaway regions are illegal in accordance with international law and will not be recognized by the international community.
Latvia will continue to support the EU monitoring missions in Georgia and we see that these mission has a stabilizing effect in the region. I would like to reiterate that Latvia has always supported the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Georgia within its internationally recognized borders. Finally, I would like to invite the President to visit Latvia any appropriate time for the President”, - stated President Vējonis.
Georgia and the Swiss Confederation mark the 25th anniversary of establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries. In connection with this fact, the two foreign ministers exchanged congratulation letters highlighting the close partnership between the two countries.
“The Georgian-Swiss relationship has been significantly expanded throughout the last few years and nowadays we mark a number of striking and meaningful achievements in our cooperation” – reads the letter by Mikheil Janelidze.
The Foreign Ministers pay special attention to the intensification of economic relations and people-to-people contacts.
The Swiss Foreign Minister writes in his congratulation letter that “Last Year’s signing of the Free Trade Agreement between EFTA countries and Georgia represents an important step towards closer economic relations.“ According to Didier Burkhalter, the Head of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs: “the new Swiss Cooperation Agency for the South Caucasus region to be implemented in the years 2017-2020 will contribute to strengthening the links between the two countries and peoples”.
From Europe to Europe-a path successfully covered by Georgia. From this day onward, Georgia's citizens will enjoy visa-free travel in the EU/Schengen Area. The first wave of passengers traveling visa-free to EU states was joined today by the Prime Minister of Georgia. To celebrate the enactment of visa waiver, on March 28, the Head of Georgian Government embarked on a symbolic trip to Athens, the capital of an ancient civilization, and Brussels, Europe's political capital.
Giorgi Kvirikashvili, a holder of a Georgian biometric passport, has already passed the border control checkpoint at Shota Rustaveli Tbilisi International Airport. Ahead is a path to Europe in the company of Georgian students, scholars, media representatives, and members of the Government.
"This is a regular Georgian passport of a Georgian citizen that I will use to travel to Europe," the Prime Minister addressed the press at the Tbilisi International Airport, showing them his Georgian passport. Giorgi Kvirikashvili calls visa waiver for Georgian citizens a historic event.
"It is a historic day-visa-free travel in the EU/Schengen Area is finally open to Georgian citizens. It is a great achievement and a good opportunity for Georgians to enhance their knowledge about the EU, learn more about the values underpinning the EU. It is a great opportunity for our students to engage in different educational programs. Together with students, we are headed to Athens, an ancient cultural capital of Europe, where we will hold a meeting at the university and have a number of political meetings. In the afternoon, we will travel to Brussels, Europe's political capital, to celebrate this great achievement, which is a result of not only the consistent, intensive work of the Georgian Government, but also of the great engagement on the part of the Georgian citizens. I congratulate all of you on this historic holiday," the Prime Minister told the press.
For the most part, the Georgian delegation consists of students, the future generation, who have already taken their first successful steps in life. Special is the benefit offered to them by visa-free travel in the Schengen Area.
"It is my first time traveling to Europe, and I could've never imagined that it would coincide with this historic event, the coming into force of visa-free travel. I am excited to join the Prime Minister in this historic visit," Tbilisi State University student Tamar Mirianashvili says.
"I am happy to be part of this historic event. EU visa liberalization is equally important to those living across the dividing line, because they are part of our state. I believe that they, too, should use this opportunity, and I hope that it will be another precondition for our unification," Nika Markozashvili, a resident of the border village of Ditsi, says.
The Georgian delegation consists of Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Education and Science Alexandre Jejelava, Foreign Minister Mikheil Janelidze, State Minister on European and Euro-Atlantic Integration Victor Dolidze, Chair of Parliamentary Committee for European Integration Tamar Khulordava, Chair of the Committee for Foreign Relations Sopio Katsarava, Rector of the Tbilisi State University Gia Sharvashidze, associate Professor Irina Darchia (Department of Classical Philology at the Institute for Modern Greek Studies), Archeologist Davit Lortkipanidze (Director General at the Georgian National Museum), Associate Professor Levan Gigineishvili, PhD in Philology (Ilia State University), author Zurab Karumidze, IDU (International Education Center) scholarship holders, Startup Georgia beneficiaries, successful new Greek studies and classical philology students of the Humanities Department at the Tbilisi State University, young people financed under the Produce in Georgia program, successful IDP students from Georgia's occupied territories, socially vulnerable students, and ethnic minority students.
The working meeting on the synchronization of Substantial NATO-Georgia Package will begin on March 28, at 09:00 tomorrow in Army Hall of Ministry of Defence. First Deputy Minister of Defence Lela Chikovani, Bulgarian Ambassador to Georgia Dessislava Ivanova and NATO HQ representative Steffen Elgersma will open the workshop.
The working meeting for the synchronization of Substantial NATO-Georgia Package was planned jointly by NATO and Georgia. Such kind of workshop is held in Georgia for the first time. It aims at achieving the joint approach towards strategic direction, consolidation of international support and identifying directions requiring additional support and improved management of resources.
During three days, up to 80 experts from the NATO member and partner nations, along with Georgian government representatives will discuss the synchronization of defence and security priorities envisaged by fifteen SNGP initiatives.
The media representatives interested in covering the working meeting on the synchronization of SNGP should arrive at to Ministry of Defence (from Uznadze street) on Tuesday, March 28, 08:30.
The President of the Republic of Latvia, H.E. Raimonds Vējonis and the First Lady, Mrs. Iveta Vējonewill will pay a three-day visit to Georgia. They will be hosted by the President of Georgia, H.E. Giorgi Margvelashvili and the First Lady, Mrs. Maka Chichua.
The official welcoming ceremony will be held tomorrow at the Presidential Palace. As a part of the visit, presidents will hold tete-a-tete and extended meetings. They will also hold a joint press conference and sign mutual documents.
President Vējonis will lay a wreath at the memorial of soldiers, fallen in fight for Georgia’s independence and hold a working dinner with the Chairperson of the Parliament of Georgia.
On March 28, presidents will attend a friendly football match between Georgia and Latvia.
On March 29, presidents will visit the occupation line in Khurvaleti, after which they will visit Kvareli and open a Latvian investment project.
The state visit will end on March 30.
Tbilisi hosted Sóley Stefánsdóttir, better known simply as sóley, an Icelandic multi-instrumentalist, singer, and songwriter. AlterVision presented her and her bend members at SPACEHALL, in Tbilisi.
The atmosphere was pleasant, quiet and comfortable. Sóley’s music united the hearts of all the listeners. The singer thanked Georgia for hosting.
Within the framework of his working visit to Washington, the Georgian Foreign Minister held a meeting with Senator Lindsey Graham. Mikheil Janelidze thanked the senator for his active support of Georgia, including for initiating a hearing on Georgia at the Senate Assignments Committee.
The Minister also thanked Lindsey Graham for visiting Georgia together with Senator John McCain.
Discussions focused on Georgia-U.S. partnership the U.S. side’s firm bicameral support for Georgia.
The sides paid special attention to the security environment in the region placing particular accent on the Russian Federation’s steps towards annexation of Georgia’s occupied regions. The Senator reaffirmed his strong support for Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and its Euro-Atlantic aspirations.