Prime Minister of Georgia Giorgi Kvirikashvili met with US President Donald Trump. The meeting was held at the Oval Office. At the beginning of the meeting President Trump emphasized that Georgia is an important ally and a strategic partner of the USA. The leaders discussed significant issues and future plans for the US-Georgia relations.
President Trump expressed the US Government's full support of Georgia's sovereignty and territorial integrity. At the end of the meeting Prime Minister Kvirikashvili invited President Trump to Georgia.
On invitation from US Vice President Mike Pence, Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili will hold an official visit to the United States of America on May 8-10.
During the visit, a meeting between the Head of Georgian Government and US Vice President Mike Pence will be held at the White House. Giorgi Kvirikashvili will be also hosted by US State Secretary Rex Tillerson at the State Department.
In addition, the Prime Minister of Georgia will meet with the chairs of different committees at US Senate. During the US visit, Giorgi Kvirikashvili will have meetings with leading US experts as well.
The Georgian delegation includes Foreign Minister Mikheil Janelidze, the Prime Minister's Foreign Adviser Tedo Japaridze, and First Deputy Foreign Minister Davit Zalkaliani.
"The US congresspersons' recent letter in support of our country clearly demonstrates that Georgia is an important partner of the US. This has been the case over the past 25 years, and I certainly hope that, in the next 25 years, we will further cement our partnership as a guarantee of Georgia's development into a stable democratic country," the Prime Minister of Georgia commented on the letter in support of Georgia addressed by US congresspersons to US President Donald Trump.
Giorgi Kvirikashvili is convinced that President Trump shares the stance and determination of the American congresspersons.
"Importantly, to celebrate the 25th anniversary of our diplomatic relations, and boost our partnership, thirty American congresspersons, members of the House of Representatives, addressed US President Donald Trump with a letter in support of Georgia. This address emphasizes the importance of our partnership and the great achievements in building democratic institutions and ensuring economic growth. It also points out that Georgia, despite facing occupation-related problems, remains a staunch supporter of antiterrorism measures and operations. The letter reflects support for initiating free trade agreement negotiations, which is commendable indeed. Lately, the US Congress has adopted several important resolutions, such as those supporting our territorial integrity and Euro-Atlantic aspirations. All this testifies that Georgia is a very important partner of the United States. I am convinced that the Senate seconds this attitude, and there is no doubt that the same is true of US President Donald Trump," the Prime Minister stated at today's Government meeting.
As the Prime Minister of Georgia stated during today's Government meeting, Georgia will organize and host the first large-scale event dedicated to viticulture and viniculture at the Bordeaux Center for Wine and Civilizations. The event will kick off in late July 2017 and continue for three months. Giorgi Kvirikashvili considers it a significant achievement and an opportunity for Georgia to enhance the international visibility of Georgian culture and wine and the country's potential in general.
"This year, the Bordeaux Center for Wine and Civilizations hosts its first winemaking exhibition that will be hosted by Georgia as the cradle of viniculture and a prominent country of wine. It is a very important event. From late July through October, Georgia will team up with Bordeaux to host an exhibition with a variety of introductory presentations, including a great deal of information about our country, our ancient culture, Georgian wine and arts. The Georgian presentation at the exhibition will be officiated by the Minister of Agriculture. Given the event's special importance, I ask all agencies to do their best to work together with Mr. Levan Davitashvili, so that Georgia may show itself at its best. It is very important for enhancing our country's international visibility and introducing our ancient culture. It is a great achievement that Georgia will act as host in the first exhibition year of the Bordeaux Center for Wine and Civilization. I congratulate all of you on this success, which years ago may have been unimaginable. Today, however, it is a reality and a great achievement," the Prime Minister stated before today's Government meeting.
Construction and rehabilitation of 1,000 kilometers of roads, 24/7 water supply additionally for 500,000 people, eradicating the issue of landfills throughout Georgia and over 2500 other vitally important infrastructural projects worth 10 billion GEL will be implemented in 2017-2020.
Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili attended today's presentation of the strategic plan for projects to be implemented under the spatial planning component, one of the most copious elements within the Georgian Government's four-point reform agenda.
Of the unprecedented amount of 10 billion GEL to be allocated for 2,500 projects, 1 billion 260 million GEL will be spent in 2017 alone.
I am convinced that Georgia has a very exciting future ahead, the Prime Minister stated during the presentation, emphasizing that the implementation of the planned strategic infrastructural projects of domestic importance will create 40,000 jobs, and the country will grow stronger and further develop economically.
"Our country has already built a solid track record of success: We have gained freedom, put the country on the right track of democratic development, and laying the foundation for a new reality through sustainable development. Today we have a real opportunity to become another success story by providing each citizen with every prerequisite for a decent life.
I am convinced that out vision of the country's development, the Government's four-point agenda, will play a decisive role in Georgia's rapid progress and offer our citizens brand new opportunities," the Prime Minister said.
According to Giorgi Kvirikashvili, the country's consistent and rapid development will be ensured by the spatial development plan that fully reflects the unique characteristics and potential of Georgia and its every region and district. The available resources are enough to develop the regions equally, which is not the case today, unfortunately.
"Geographic location in the 21st century should not be an obstacle to healthcare, education, access to social infrastructure, doing business, and others. We aim to provide our citizens in every place in Georgia with equal opportunities," Giorgi Kvirikashvili stated.
The Prime Minister thanked all international and donor organizations standing by the Georgian Government in this vitally important cause, also expressing his gratitude to the Ministry of Regional Development and personally Minister Zurab Alavidze "who has been working on this assignment with special assiduousness, doing his best to uphold high quality standards in completing this arduous job."
"What will this fresh spatial planning bring to our country and our people? It will bring about new roads, highways, airports, a new port, bridges, tunnels, and brand new opportunities in our country.
It will bring us 40,000 additional jobs! More employed citizens, larger incomes, and a stronger and economically developed country!
I believe that the proposed detailed plan will prove very interesting and promising to our citizens because its constituent projects are calculated with meticulous precision in terms of detail and timeframe," the Prime Minister emphasized.
The Minister of Regional Development and Infrastructure delivered a detailed presentation about the planned projects. The event was attended by representatives of Georgia's executive and legislative branches, international organizations, and the diplomatic corps.
After the presentation, the Prime Minister commented on the strategic plan once again, this time in conversation with the press, highlighting that after the implementation of these projects, the accessibility of services in every corner of the country will change drastically for the better, and that the regions will become interconnected.
"Consequently, the quality of life will improve in the country, we will add more than 40,000 new jobs and Georgia will be able to fulfill its geostrategic transit function. It is a significant breakthrough in the country's economic development, and a qualitative change to improve the quality of life in the country. I believe that it is the most far-reaching and detailed plan incorporated into a single context in the history of Georgia. It is our duty to implement this plan, so that our children may have better living conditions and prospects for developing in the country," the Prime Minister said.
Today Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili held a meeting with Siegfried Bracke, the President of the Chamber of Representatives of the Federal Parliament of the Kingdom of Belgium.
The parties discussed the key issues of the two countries' relations and made plans for deeper cooperation. Special emphasis was placed on the importance of the 25th anniversary of Georgia-Belgium diplomatic relations, and the need to further develop economic cooperation and inter-parliamentary relations.
The discussion during the meeting also involved Georgia's European integration. Siegfried Bracke congratulated Giorgi Kvirikashvili on successful visa liberalization. According to the Prime Minister, Georgia continues its reform policy to draw even closer to Europe. Giorgi Kvirikashvili introduced the Georgian Government's four-point plan to Siegfried Bracke.
The parties also discussed the situation in Georgia's occupied territories. The Prime Minister of Georgia thanked the President of the Chamber of Representatives of the Federal Parliament of the Kingdom of Belgium for steadfastly supporting Georgia's European and Euro-Atlantic integration and the country's territorial integrity and sovereignty.
Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili chaired today's MCA-Georgia Supervisory Board meeting at the Administration of the Government. Together with the board's members, the event was attended by MCC Deputy Vice President Fatema Sumar, MCC Managing Director Jonathan Brooks, Nicholas Berliner (Deputy Chief of Mission at the US Embassy in Georgia), and MCC Country Director Jenner Edelman.
MCC CEO Magda Magradze informed the Supervisory Board about the ongoing projects and next year's action plan under the Millennium Challenge Compact.
As it was highlighted during the meeting, the compact covers projects implemented through 2019 to enhance the quality of engineering, technology, and science education and to develop human capital in general, vocational, and higher education. Accordingly, each project contributes to the elimination of unemployment and the empowerment of economy. The Second US MCC Compact (140 million USD), which came into force in 2014, is implemented by the Millennium Challenge Account-Georgia.
The Georgian Government is working toward launching free trade negotiations with India, the Prime Minister of Georgia stated at today's Government meeting. According to Giorgi Kvirikashvili, before starting negotiations on signing the free trade agreement between Georgia and India, a preliminary study will be conducted to assess all factors and potential related to this agreement.
"We enjoy free trade agreements with our neighbors, Turkey, the EU, and the EFTA. In the foreseeable future, we will have a similar agreement with China and Hong Kong. We want to start a study on India as well. To this end, a delegation from the Ministry of Economy will travel to Delhi under the leadership of Minister Giorgi Gakharia. In a few months, we will complete said study, and based on its results we will launch negotiations on the free trade agreement with India. It is a very important issue because Georgia has enough potential to become the regional hub in this direction, and we must use these opportunities to the hilt," Giorgi Kvirikashvili stated.
During today's Government meeting, Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili summarized the 3rd UNWTO Euro-Asian Mountain Resort Conference in Tbilisi, referring to it as a historic forum. The Head of Government thanked UNWTO Secretary General Taleb Rifai for supporting Georgia.
"Hosting the world congress on international winter resorts in Georgia is a historic event. Mountains make up 65% of our country and mountain development has a multidimensional meaning to us. It is primarily a social issue for the populations of our mountainous areas, an issue of cultural heritage preservation, security, economic development, and others. This is why it was important to hold the world congress in Georgia, and the Government will continue investing heavily in this direction. We have enormous untapped treasuries in our mountains, and this congress serves the purpose of increasing Georgia's international visibility. UNWTO Secretary General Taleb Rifai, who is visiting Georgia, was awarded yesterday the Order of Honor. Over the years, he has been supporting Georgia, promoting its tourism potential and visibility, and I would like to thank him for standing by us," the Prime Minister stated.
According to Giorgi Kvirikashvili, mountain resort development is one of the top priorities of the Georgian Government, and numerous important new activities are planned in this direction.
"In just a few years, Georgia should host the world championship finals in one winter sport or another; we have everything we need to achieve this goal, and and we are on the right track. The process of developing master plans for mountain resorts and a system of schools for tour guides and coaches, creating of a flexible winter break schedule and its adaption to the mountain development plan-all this focuses mainly on enabling Georgia's population, along with international tourism, to make use of the tourist potential of Georgia's mountains. Our future generations must be able to enjoy these riches, yet we have one of the lowest domestic tourism rates. It is, of course, related to the level of economic development. Nonetheless, even the current level of development enables us to increase the numbers of future generations enjoying Georgia's resorts, through the very steps we are taking now, including special subsidies allocated to winter schools, adapting winter break schedules, and others," the Prime Minister said.
The countdown is on-in 364 days, a new railroad will lead directly into the Kutaisi International Airport.
Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili participated in today's ceremony dedicated to the launch of the construction of a three-kilometer railroad track and a station.
Thanks to this new railroad track, every passenger train travelling from the east to the west, or vice versa, will stop a few yards from the Kutaisi International Airport. According to the Prime Minister, the new railroad, along with the airport, will symbolize what Georgia aspires to achieve-to become a country with a modern European model of planning with rapid dynamics
"The Kutaisi Airport, along with this station, will become a vitally important center where our citizens, who wish to travel to Europe for an affordable price, now visa-free, will be able to enjoy a comfortable modern Stadler train. Every traveler will be able to travel from the Kutaisi Airport to any place in Georgia within a few hours, including sea and mountain destinations," the Prime Minister stated.
According to Giorgi Kvirikashvili, the Government aims to make it possible to travel from Kutaisi to any place in Georgia in a couple of hours, including resorts, the newly built Ambrolauri Airport, or the airports in Mestia and Telavi.
It is also planned, as the Prime Minister said, to build other small airports, and planning has been launched in Southern Georgia. The Head of Government also spoke of the far-reaching Rikoti highway project, after the completion of which it will be possible to travel from Tbilisi to Kutaisi in two hours. According to the Prime Minister, the joint operations of the railroad and the airport will promote Kutaisi as an important tourist, logistics, and transport hub. During his speech, Giorgi Kvirikashvili also emphasized the Kutaisi Campus under construction and well underway, with the project's cost reaching one billion.
"Along with the Tbilisi Hi-Tech Center, it will make up a single complex, and Kutaisi will become an international college town, which will give it a fresh impetus. Historically, Kutaisi has been Georgia's cultural center, and it will also become an important business center, a vital hub for transport, logistics, and tourism," the Prime Minister said. Among the most important projects, Giorgi Kvirikashvili singled out the Anaklia Deep Sea Port project, a constituent part of the Government's spatial development plan.
"This mainline is not just a railroad site. It is a constituent of a large spatial development project, which is, in turn, a part of our four-point agenda, which seeks to deliver main infrastructure and key services to every corner of Georgia. Kutaisi will become a very important center of Georgia's spatial development. Georgia has a well justified ambition of becoming a regional hub," the Prime Minister stated. The Head of Government also mentioned the Best Western Hotel-which opened today-a project implemented with support from the Partnership Fund. Giorgi Kvirikashvili also described the work of the Imeri enterprise. Using financing under the Produce in Georgia state program, this enterprise has created 200 additional jobs. Today Giorgi Kvirikashvili set off the countdown timer at the Kutaisi International Airport, indicating the number of days left to the completion of the new railroad and station.