Georgian grocery store will be opened in Belarus and tractors will be assembled at a joint venture that will operate in Georgia. It was announced at a meeting of Mamuka Bakhtadze, Prime Minister of Georgia with Mikhail Rusy, Deputy Prime Minister of Belarus today.
Joint production of elevators for residential blocks is also under consideration, along with a cooperation in the sector of transportation. Namely ferry transfer has a development prospect, along with a transit of cargo originating in Belarus through Ukraine and Georgia. Need of specific steps to be made for the development of logistics was underlined at the meeting. Head of Government of Georgia instructed the cabinet to discuss and agree ways on improving the logistics with the Belarussian colleagues within a Work Group format to significantly increase the bilateral trade.
Belarussian side is also interested in incorporating a joint venture to assemble tractors in Georgia. It was agreed at the meeting today that relevant partners will be solicited with support of the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development of Georgia.
Deputy Prime Minister of Belarus also expressed readiness to have Belarussian manufacturers bid in tenders announced for the substitution of municipal busses in Tbilisi and Batumi, along with a keen interest in providing elevators with any specific configuration to an interested buyer at the Georgian market.
It was also agreed at the meeting that Belarussian side will work on the allocation of a special place in Minsk for a Georgian grocery store with a concept of AgroHub.
The 5th Association Council Meeting, chaired by Georgian Prime Minister Mamuka Bakhtadze, discussed 2018 Association Implementation Report on Georgia and positively assessed the state of the EU-Georgia relations.
The sides reaffirmed their continued commitment to advance Georgia's deeper political association and economic integration with the EU. Both sides acknowledged Georgia's European aspirations, its European choice and the common objective to continue building a democratic, stable and prosperous country. The Association Council took note of Georgia's "Roadmap 2EU" which aims at enhancing Georgia's integration with the EU.
Both sides reaffirmed their continued commitments to bring tangible benefits to the lives of Georgian citizens in line with the Association Agenda's four key areas of cooperation: economic development and market opportunities; strengthening institutions and good governance; connectivity, energy efficiency, environment and climate change; enhancing mobility and people-to-people contacts.
The Association Council welcomed the fact that the Presidential elections, on 28 October and 28 November 2018, were held in an overall competitive environment. It also acknowledged some shortcomings and agreed on the importance of addressing all OSCE/ODIHR recommendations in order to further strengthen the environment favorable for the democratic conduct of elections, especially in view of the parliamentary elections in 2020. The Association Council welcomed the entry into force of the revised Constitution in December 2018 which concluded Georgia's transition to a full parliamentarian system. The Association Council encouraged all political actors to work together and to maintain an open dialogue, including with civil society, in order to further strengthen democratic institutions, consolidate pluralistic democracy in Georgia and advance reforms. Both sides stressed the need to continue the successful cooperation established between the EU and Georgia on Strategic Communication and countering disinformation.
The Association Council welcomed the progress made over the year by Georgia in the implementation of comprehensive reforms in the rule of law; it also noted some areas where further progress was needed and encouraged Georgia to move ahead with the 4th wave of judiciary reform and to continue strengthening its judicial institutions by upholding, inter alia, transparency and meritocracy in the appointment of judges. The EU underlined its commitment to continue assisting Georgia in its efforts to further reform the judiciary and safeguard the rule of law.
The Association Council welcomed that a great number of Georgian citizens have benefited from short term visa free travel with Schengen countries. It welcomed continuous efforts of the Georgian Government to address violations of the visa-free travel requirement and encouraged Georgia to continue its commitment to counter the increased numbers of unfounded asylum seekers in some Schengen countries. The EU encouraged Georgia to further enhance cooperation with the EU Member States to fight against irregular migration and organized crime.
The Association Council welcomed progress made in the implementation of the Human Rights Strategy and its Action Plan, as well as the establishment of Human Rights Protection Department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs. The EU recognized Georgia's efforts and encouraged to continue preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence, gender based violence, as well as promoting gender equality, including by strengthening national institutional capacities. The Council stressed the commitment to the universality of human rights for all, regardless of religion or belief, race, sex, language, sexual orientation, gender identity, ability or other. The Association Council commended Georgia on the adoption of the law on Occupational Health and Safety applying to all spheres of economic activity and encouraged Georgia to continue its work to create an effective labor inspection system in order to further improve working conditions.
Both sides welcomed the progress made by Georgia in the implementation of the Association Agreement, including its Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement (DCFTA). The EU continued to be the most important partner of Georgia; the total bilateral trade amounted to EUR 2.76 billion in 2018. The EU invited Georgia to identify concrete products having export potential to the EU, on the basis of which assistance will be provided. Both sides welcomed successful implementation of structural reforms and underlined the importance of ongoing reforms related to the improvement of the investment climate in Georgia.
The Association Council welcomed the first disbursement of the Macro-Financial Assistance to Georgia in December 2018 and encouraged Georgia to continue the implementation of outstanding agreed policy measures in order to enable the disbursement of the second installment. The EU encouraged Georgia to ensure sustainability of the already implemented reforms and maintain macro-economic stability.
The Association Council reiterated Georgia's strategic role in the field of energy, transport and connectivity and increasingly as a transportation and logistics hub in the region. The EU committed to continue engaging closely with Georgia on the connectivity agenda and on the further extension of the Trans-European Transport Network (TEN-T). The Association Council welcomed the first EU-Georgia High Level Transport Dialogue on 29 January 2019. Both sides also highlighted the importance of Black Sea cooperation as a step towards enhancing connectivity and international trade between Europe and Asia.
The Association Council reiterated Georgia's key role as a partner for European energy security and stressed the country's transit role for Caspian hydrocarbon resources to reach European markets, notably via the Southern Gas Corridor and the Black Sea. The EU stressed its commitment to further support the roll-out of energy efficiency standards in public buildings, based on legislative reforms in key areas. The EU reiterated its continuous support for reinvigorating Georgia's agriculture and rural sector to improve living conditions in rural areas as well as to boost export opportunities through better food safety systems. The Association Council noted the importance of enhanced cooperation in the area of civil protection. The EU welcomed the successful implementation of the first European School in Tbilisi as a crucial milestone in the EU's relations with its Eastern partner countries and Georgia's commitment to education reforms.
The EU acknowledged the importance of EU-Georgia cooperation in the field of foreign and security policy and underlined that Georgia continued consolidating its position of a strategic partner of the EU in the region. The Association Council reflected on the issues discussed during the second EU-Georgia Strategic Security Dialogue that took place October on 23 October 2018. The EU expressed appreciation for Georgia's continued contribution to EU-led crisis management operations and missions in the Central African Republic and the Republic of Mali, as well as readiness to support strengthening of Georgia's respective capacities.
The EU reiterated its firm support for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Georgia within its internationally recognized borders. The EU reiterated its firm commitment to peaceful conflict resolution in Georgia by using all instruments at its disposal including the policy of non-recognition and engagement. The EU delegation, led by High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini, emphasized that the work of the EU Special Representative for the South Caucasus and the crisis in Georgia, and the extension of the mandate of the EU Monitoring Mission demonstrate this strong commitment.
The Association Council stressed the crucial importance of the Geneva International Discussions for addressing and resolving the challenges stemming from the conflict between Russia and Georgia in August 2008. It also reiterated that full and effective Incident Prevention and Response Mechanisms (IPRMs) is essential for addressing the safety and humanitarian needs of conflict-affected population on the ground. In this regard, the Council emphasized the urgency of resuming the Gali IPRM without preconditions.
The Association Council was deeply concerned with the continued implementation of so-called "treaties" signed between the Russian Federation and Georgian regions of Abkhazia and Tskhinvali region/South Ossetia, as well as with other illegal activities of Russia in these regions, in violation of Georgia's sovereignty and territorial integrity, including intensified military build-up, installation of barbed wire fences and artificial barriers along the administrative boundary lines, closure of "crossing points" and restriction of freedom of movement. The Association Council expressed concern over deteriorating humanitarian and human rights situation in both Georgian regions, with particular emphasis on ethnic discrimination of Georgians, prohibition of education in native language, and deprivation of life of Archil Tatunashvili and Giga Otkhozoria. In this regard, the Association Council reiterated that justice should be applied.
The Association Council reiterated the obligation for the Russian Federation to fulfil its international obligations including under the EU-mediated 12 August 2008 Ceasefire Agreement, notably to withdraw its military forces from the territory of Georgia and remove all impediments for establishment of international security mechanisms therein. The Association Council further urged the Russian Federation to provide EUMM access to the whole territory of Georgia, in line with the mandate of the Mission. The Council stressed the obligation to ensure safe and dignified return of all internally displaced persons and refugees to their homes.
The Association Council stressed the importance of increasing support to people-to-people contacts and confidence building measures across the divides. In this respect, the Association Council expressed support for the Georgian peace initiative "A Step to a Better Future".
The EU commended Georgia's active participation in the multilateral dimension of the Eastern Partnership and underlined that continued reform efforts in the partner countries are key to the success of the Eastern Partnership and to the EaP 10th anniversary celebrations scheduled for this year.
Prime Minister's Press Office
Georgia's investment opportunities and possible avenues of cooperation were discussed today by Georgian Prime Minister Mamuka Bakhtadze and Chairman Xu Lirong of the COSCO Shipping Corporation. The meeting was held under the World Economic Forum in Davos.
As it was pointed out, the Government of Georgia pays special attention to the development of new transport corridors to provide the fastest and safest alternative cargo movement route between Europe and Asia.
The Chairman of the COSCO Corporation emphasized Georgia's crucial role in the trade between Europe and Asia and welcomed the Georgian Government's efforts dedicated to furthering the country's transit function.
COSCO Shipping expressed readiness to cooperate in the future and to study the opportunities offered by Georgia's maritime transport.
COSCO Shipping is a large Chinese state-owned corporation with its headquarters in Shanghai. The corporation is engaged in the supply chain and transport industries. Its annual revenues make up 14 billion USD, and the number of employees exceeds 21,000.
Prime Minister's Press Office
A four-year-old child has died in hospital after a Tbilisi residential building explosion rocked Tbilisi several hours ago. Doctors say the child was in a critical condition when he was brought to Imedi Clinic.
Among the injured are six minors and two middle-age individuals-a man and a woman, based on the latest information.
Georgian PM Mamuka Bakhtadze has declared 17 January as a mourning day.
Flags on state buildings will fly at half-staff tomorrow.
Georgian President Salome Zurabishvili, who visited the injured children in the Iashvili Clinic, stated that their lives are not at risk.
She said that she is deeply touched by the huge tragedy and offered her condolences to the families of those who died.
The local authorities will accommodate them until the building is checked for safety and mandatory works are done.
Three people have been killed and at least five injured in a powerful explosion in the Didi Digomi district of Tbilisi about two hours ago – among the injured four are children.
A gas leak may have caused the explosion. Nearby buildings were also damaged in the blast, locals say.
The evacuation of people from the building where the explosion took place has ended.
Prime Minister Mamuka Bakhtadze and Tbilisi Mayor Kakha Kaladze are at the scene.
Health Minister David Sergeenko told the media that the health condition of two minors is satisfactory, while the condition of two others is critical. One has a skull trauma, but fortunately there is no need of surgical intervention. Another is being transported from the Imedi clinic and his health condition, as far as I know, is critical,” Sergeenko said.
Residents told the media that there was a strong gas smell present in the building throughout the day. Employees of gas provider company Kaztransgas came to the building to check for a leak, but left the scene after finding that nothing was wrong with the gas infrastructure
Patrol police, rescuers and emergency brigades are at the scene.
The staircase inside the building has been destroyed, as well as the walls of several flats.
A residential building has exploded due to an alleged gas leak in Didi Digomi district of Tbilisi.
Three deaths have been confirmed, several have been hospitalised.
Rescue workers are currently trying to extinguish the fire and evacuate people from the building.
As Georgian Prime Minister Mamuka Bakhtadze told journalists today, Georgia has once again proved to be a thriving democracy.
The Head of Government visited Salome Zurabishvili's c after the Central Election Commission published the presidential election's preliminary results. He congratulated the independent candidate on victory and declared trust, also thanking voters for their activity.
"I express my deepest gratitude to every voter. The level of activity was quite high, indeed. At the same time, I have also stated that each of us has received very important messages in both the first round and the runoff. There are many challenges in Georgia. We are facing problems that we must solve, overcome together. I also congratulated Salome Zurabishvili on gaining trust of our population, and I wished her success. Georgia has its own national interests, and these interests must be served constantly. Above all else, our national interests include the de-occupation of Georgia's territories, of course, and our European and Euro-Atlantic integration. At the same time, it is equally important to put an end to poverty in Georgia once and for all. To this end, we need consolidation, oneness of mind, and I am convinced that our joint efforts will surely succeed. Once again, I am grateful to our population for being active," Mamuka Bakhtadze said.
Prime Minister's Press Office
"Turkey is the largest trade partner for our country" stated Mamuka Bakhtadze, Prime Minister of Georgia at the Reception marking 95th Anniversary of the Republic Day of Turkey.
Head of Government of Georgia congratulated H.E. Fatma Ceren Yazgan, Plenipotentiary and Extraordinary Ambassador of Turkey to Georgia with the Republic Day and noted that Turkey has overcome a number of challenges throughout these 95 years and transformed into a large economic and political power.
According to the Prime Minister of Georgia, many regional and historic projects have jointly been implemented by Georgia and Turkey, including the Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum (BTE), Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC), South Caucasus Pipeline (SCP) and Baku-Tbilisi-Kars BTK.
"I am thrilled that I have participated in the BTK myself" noted the Prime Minister of Georgia.
Head of Government of Georgia underlined the consistent support of Turkey since Georgia regained its independence.
"We regard Turkey as our strategic friend. At the same time, it is an idea of our international aspirations as Georgia strives to become a fully-fledged member of NATO and Turkey is a great supporter of ours in this endeavor. Hence, Ladies and Gentlemen, I once again wish to congratulate our Turkish friends with the Republic Day and wish them all the best. Friends, I wish you peace and prosperity" concluded the Prime Minister of Georgia.
Official Reception was attended by diplomatic corps accredited in Georgia, officials of non-government and international organizations, mass media, political parties and religious authorities.
Today, Georgian Prime Minister Mamuka Bakhtadze held a meeting with Ambassador of the People's Republic of China to Georgia Ji Yanchi.
The discussion during the meeting revolved around the relations between Georgia and China across a variety of areas and the growing economic and trade dynamic. The importance of further developing the trade relations between the two countries was underlined.
According to the Prime Minister of Georgia, China's becoming Georgia's main trade partner is one of the Government's top priorities. The meeting emphasized the necessity of high-level exchange visits between the countries.
Special attention was paid to the significant growth of Chinese investments in Georgia's economy. As the Head of Government pointed out, Chinese companies create additional motivation in terms of attracting foreign investments in Georgia. Emphasis was also placed on China's technological achievements and the importance of sharing technological experience with Georgia. The Prime Minister of Georgia and the Chinese diplomat discussed the Georgian Prime Minister's upcoming visit to China in early November.
Special attention during the meeting was paid to the dire human rights and humanitarian situation in Georgia's occupied regions. The Chinese diplomat reaffirmed firm support of Georgia's sovereignty and territorial integrity.
The conversation during the meeting also involved people-to-people relations and the further development of the historical and cultural relations between the two nations. The Prime Minister of Georgia offered the Chinese Ambassador to open a Chinese cultural center in Georgia.
Views on the reform of the educational system, the necessity of youth engagement in the country’s ongoing processes, and the importance of human capital development were discussed by Georgian Prime Minister Mamuka Bakhtadze during today’s meeting with Georgian students studying in New York.
The students familiarized themselves with the views of the Head of Government on the changes planned at every stage of the system of education, involving the introduction of innovative approaches.
The Prime Minister underlined the importance of the maximal engagement of youth, emphasizing that he welcomes their every idea and active participation in every process related to the reform’s successful implementation and the country’s development.
According to Mamuka Bakhtadze, the Government’s goal is to create in the country an environment enabling youth to make full use of their potential and abilities. The meeting with the Prime Minister was attended by 17 bachelor’s and master’s degree program students, including through financing from the International Education Center of Georgia.
Prime Minister's Press Office
German Chancellor’s Angela Merkel plane has already landed at Tbilisi International Airport, where she will be greeted by Minister of Foreign Affairs Davit Zalkaliani and Ambassador of Georgia to Germany Elguja Khokrishvili.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel will meet with Georgian Prime Minister Mamuka Bakhtadze, President Giorgi Margvelashvili and oppositional representatives within the framework of her official visit to Georgia on August 23-24.
On August 24, German Chancellor will meet with representatives of Georgian oppositional parties and German soldiers who participated in 2018 Noble Partner military training.
The German delegation includes State Secretary Steffen Seibert, also the government spokesperson as well as head of the Press and Information Office, H.E. Heike Peitsch, Ambassador of Germany to Georgia, Jan Hecker, foreign policy adviser to German Chancellor, Matthias Lüttenberg, Head of Eastern and South-Eastern Europe as well as Central Asia and Southern Caucasus of the German Federal Chancellery and other officials.
Upcoming visit of the Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany to Georgia, bilateral relations and key aspects of European and Euro-Atlantic integration agenda of Georgia were predominantly discussed by Mamuka Bakhtadze, Prime Minister of Georgia and H.E. Dr. Heike Renate Peitsch, Plenipotentiary and Extraordinary Ambassador of Germany to Georgia at the Government Administration today.
Prime Minister noted that Government deems the upcoming official visit of H.E. Angela Merkel, Chancellor of Germany as the most important event in developing the bilateral relations.
Head of the Government of Georgia stressed the most significant role of Germany in the institutional building of the country.
Focus was made on the trade and economic links, increasing investments from Germany to Georgia and significance of education in ensuring the sustainable economic growth and development.
Discussions were also related to the measures intended by the Government of Georgia for the facilitation of small and medium enterprises (SME), aimed at the job creation and poverty eradication. German diplomat praised the Environmental Vision of the Prime Minister of Georgia on Green Economy.
Head of the Government of Georgia and Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany spoke about the upcoming presidential elections. Prime Minister noted that Government pledges to ensure the free, fair and transparent environment this time again in line with the high standards of democracy.