The President of Georgia, H.E. Giorgi Margvelashvili has held a meeting with the Minister of Defence of Ukraine, Mr. Stepan Poltorak, as a part of his two-day official visit to Georgia.
The parties have discussed Georgia-Ukraine bilateral cooperation in the area of defense and the prospects of further strengthening these relations.
President Margvelashvili has reaffirmed his strong support for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine and pointed out that Georgia and Ukraine face similar threats and aggression from Russia and share common goals in the foreign policy.
According to the President, Georgia condemns aggressive and illegal actions taken by the Russian Federation in Ukraine and will continue to support Ukraine in all formats.
On behalf of the President of Ukraine, Mr. Poltorak has thanked President Margvelashvili for his personal contribution in supporting Ukraine at the international arena.
The conversation has also touched upon the preparation for the prospective visit of the President of Ukraine to Georgia, which will be held in the nearest future.
The meeting has also been attended by the Head of the Administration of the President of Georgia Mr. Giorgi Abashishvili, the Secretary of the National Security Council of Georgia Mr. Davit Rakviashvili, the Minister of Defence of Georgia Mr. Levan Izoria, the Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces Mr. Vladimer Chachibaia and the Secretary of the President of Georgia for Foreign Affairs Mr. Tengiz Pkhaladze.
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.
Government's Budget for 2017 was approved in Parliament, which is a budget focusing on fiscal sustainability, rapid development, and fast economic growth. You are aware of the debates in the country on our proposed budget, which directly reflects the goals and steps we take.
I would like to say a few words about our plans and the goals targeted by our actions, also about the ongoing processes in our geographic neighborhood.
Firstly, I would like to say about the depreciation of GEL that, in our geographic area, practically every currency of our partner countries is declining. Looking at the percentage, which our opponents often appeal to, and which is nothing but a political manipulation to score points, all major currencies have dropped 100%: the Turkish lira, Ukrainian hryvna (over 200% depreciation, Russian ruble (within 90%), Azerbaijani manat (over 100%). There have been talks about the year 2012 since which GEL has dropped 60-65%. It is not good, though I would like to say that Georgia, with the dynamics of its economic development, and despite all challenges and the social conditions of our population, our country, given its level of development, is in good shape to talk about crucially important development plans for the future.
Every step we take focuses on higher dynamics of development compared to the countries in our neighborhood. It is a regular competition; Georgia is in competition of investments, which is why our competitiveness indicators must be better to attract into Georgia larger portions of investments made in the region. Consequently, we need to focus on directions that can ensure more ways to generate foreign currency and attract investments, and it is to this end that we direct our steps.
Of course, we can take the financial resources the Government has every year and channel a greater portion of the budget toward social issues, but we have a balanced approach. Our budget seeks to put an end to the problems that we, by the way, have been facing for decades, running in a vicious cycle, to embark irreversibly on a path of solving the country's economic problems. It involves our economy's structural improvement and bettering; it involves the development of such directions as export-oriented production; it involves developing the services that also focus on generating foreign currency, tourism predominantly. Significant resources are being invested in tourism infrastructure. Ultimately, we will not be independent from other processes, but we can say as that, with high development dynamics in the region, Georgia will have higher development indicators. Even with a poor economic situation in the region, we, thanks to the steps we are taking, will nonetheless have better indicators.
We understand the problems facing our population, and we understand them better than anyone else does, by the way. It is very easy for our opponents to score political points in times like these. The situation will surely change, because we feel responsible for every step we take. We are not talking about inventing the wheel. We are not doing anything innovative in this case; we only take steps that effect greater economic dynamics, greater development, and greater growth.
Georgia is about to launch a very important process of development. It will not be easy, but it will make our economy healthier. It will place Georgia among the developed Eastern European countries and rid our citizens of the problems we are discussing today. We assume full responsibility for this process, and I would like to urge our citizens once again to maintain reasonable views on this process and keep in mind that the Government is taking a number of necessary steps.
We are carrying out a 10% optimization. Some suggest cutting expenses by 30%-and it is mathematically feasible-but it is a completely irresponsible approach, which we will not take. We are cutting expenses at the level that can maintain the dynamics of healthy development. Similarly, we are liberalizing taxation in the directions that will have the highest positive impact on the dynamics of economic growth. We are increasing taxes in the directions that will have the least negative impact on our economic growth. Every step we take seeks to ensure the right development process in the country, to better our economy structurally, to better our balance of trade, to mitigate our dependence on foreign currency fluctuation, so that our citizens may finally disregard currency exchange rates and, instead, focus on price changes and inflation.
"US-Georgia strategic partnership will progress further. Georgia has high degree of support from both parties of the United States of America (USA), which is a significant factor for deepening our cooperation further" noted Mr. Giorgi Kvirikashvili, Acting Prime Minister of Georgia at the meeting with Ms. Bridget A. Brink, Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Bureau of European and Euroasian Affairs of US Department of State today.
Ms. Brink congratulated Mr. Kvirikashvili on the success achieved in the General Elections and expressed hopes that trust demonstrated by the population of the country towards the national authorities will enable the latter to carry out the anticipated goals and aspirations.
"It is a manifestation of the high degree of trust by the general public towards the authorities. It is a huge mandate and opportunity offered to the government to implement its plans as anticipated" noted Ms. Brink at the meeting.
Parties discussed major topics of strategic relations between the two countries, including the prospects of cooperation in the following areas: defense and security, economics and trade, democracy and human rights, education and culture.
Discussions were also related to the current position of the region. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State focused on the role of Georgia as a power of stability in the region.
Parties also spoke about the results of the Presidential Elections in USA and process of formation of the new administration.
Meeting held at the Government Administration of Georgia was attended by Mr. David Bakradze, Acting State Minister of Georgia for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration.
We are gathered for the last Executive Government Meeting today, until the new composition of the Government of Georgia gets endorsed. I wish to briefly overview the past four years that we have worked together performing tasks that can be definitely labeled as the most significant for our country and our people. Therefore, I wish to greatly thank you all for this.
I wish to particularly stress the contribution in the breakthrough of our country made by Mr. Bidzina Ivanishvili, first Prime Minister of Georgia from our team. It was an essential transformation of national policy and governance of our country. I wish to sincerely thank him on behalf of all of us. I also wish to thank my predecessor, Mr. Irakli Gharibashvili and everyone else working within the Cabinet of Ministers at different occasions doing the most important job for the country.
What makes me most proud is that a human being has always been the prime and supreme value for our Government. Every step we took together was aimed towards, about, around and for humans. Healthcare Reform Agenda was oriented at them. It enabled hundreds of thousands of our citizens to seek medical treatment for gratis and today we have healthier people great merits to this initiative.
Another milestone achievement of our efforts was aimed at the protection of the socially vulnerable groups and internally displaced people. We always sympathized with regular people and their concerns. Moreover, no person is nowadays afraid of openly expressing his ideas and making choice. Judiciary has undergone a considerable progress. Media is genuinely free. All of this taken together is indeed a huge progress. Our country has advanced this much and duly demonstrated it to the international community.
Georgia evidences progress practically in every dimension according to the rating systems of international institutions - be that democracy or economic development measurement indicators.
Also, voluminous success has been achieved in our quest for European and Euro-Atlantic integration. Georgia signed the Association Agreement (AA) with the European Union (EU), including the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA). Indeed, it opens entirely new opportunities to Georgia and to the private sector in our country. In addition, we made significant trade links with the East, which is equally and tremendously important indeed.
Of course, there were a number of serious challenges within these four years - both within the country and overseas. We always managed to address them with a shared effort.
Being the Prime Minister of Georgia, I take great pride in every single day spent with each one of you. What makes us significant is the foundation made to the Four Point Reform Agenda, which should serve as a solid ground for the vast economic breakthrough of our country in the coming four years, fundamental transformation of the education system, modernization of the nation-wide infrastructure, development of spatial planning and further more improvement and transformation of the governance system. It will indeed bring more prosperity to each individual citizen of our country and our mission will be met - to let every person embrace the significance and outcome of changes happening and anticipated in the country.
Great trust expressed by citizens of our country by voting for the Georgian Dream in the recent general elections was a huge success on its own merits within the context of democratic development of Georgia. We should by all means translate it into the well-being of each individual living in this country, making it clear and vivid for everyone - thus leading to essential, quality adjustment. Once again, let me thank you all. Let me also wish a brighter future to our country.
On 26 October 2016, the 71st meeting under the Incident Prevention and Response Mechanism (IPRM) took place in Ergneti, co-facilitated by Kęstutis Jankauskas, the Head of the European Union Monitoring Mission in Georgia (EUMM) and Ambassador Guenther Baechler, the Special Representative of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office for the South Caucasus.
Participants discussed the security situation along the Administrative Boundary Line (ABL), including persons currently in detention. They also discussed borderisation and its impact on people living along the ABL. Updates were provided on the work of the OSCE-commissioned independent expert, who is currently in the region, continuing his work with regards to missing persons.
All participants were complimentary about the effectiveness of the Hotline in providing information and solving issues. They ,recommended that factual notifications should be given in as timely a manner as possible.
Participants reiterated their commitment to early notification of military and police activities in the vicinity of the ABL. The next IPRM meeting will take place on 30 November 2016.
NATO Headquarters in Brussels hosted the NATO-Georgia Commission (NGC) meeting on Strategic Communications at Partnerships and Cooperation Security Committee (PCSC) level. The meeting was chaired by the Senior Director of Integration, Partnership and Cooperation Directorate, Yaroslav Skonieczka. Georgian delegation at the Commission was represented by the Deputy State Minister of Georgia on European and Euro-Atlantic Integration, Mariam Rakviashvili and Deputy Head of NATO Division of International Relations and Euro-Atlantic Integration Department of the Ministry of Defence, Tinatin Mzarelua.
Georgian side provided Allies with exhaustive information on the current challenges of the country, as well as progress achieved in the area of effective strategic communications and future plans in this regard. In the light of existing threats in the region, Allies stressed the significance of strategic communications and positively assessed achievements of Georgian side. Moreover, NATO Allies expressed their readiness to further deepen cooperation in this area and to participate in the implementation of future activities in this regard.
NATO Allies reiterated their support to Georgia's Euro-Atlantic integration at NATO-Georgia Commission meeting
Georgian and Russian Businessmen will meet in next month in Tbilisi. This information was released by the Foreign Affairs Ministry of Russia. According to reports, the meeting will be held under the auspices of Russian and Georgian Chambers of Commerce.
The results of the meeting of Zurab Abashidze and Grigory Karasin are summed up in the statement of the Foreign Ministry of Russia. The meeting was held in Prague at October, 19. According to statement, the meeting will deepen the cooperation between the sides.
The Acting Chairman of Government of the A/R of Abkhazia, Vakhtang Kolbaia met with the project participant youth IDPs. Head of the government positively assessed the work and noted that such projects contribute to increase public awareness of young people and their involvement in the process, which contributes to confidence building and reconciliation. The meeting was attended by Minister of Confidence- Building and Reconciliation Issues of the A/R of Abkhazia, David Gvadzabia, Chairman of the Department of Justice of the A/R of Abkhazia, Igor Kopaliani, Deputy of the Minister of Confidence- Building and Reconciliation Issues of the A/R of Abkhazia, Bela Kopaliani, Director of, Children and Youth National Center ", Giga Gabelaia and Bela Saria.
The project was carried out within the cooperation between Ministry of Confidence- Building and Reconciliation Issues of the A/R of Abkhazia and,, Children and Youth National Center " that aims to engage adults living in Zugdidi and close area during a week non-formal educational activities, raise public awareness among the youth, raising teamwork skills, volunteerism and encourage active citizenship, developing creative and analytical thinking, raise environmental awareness. Week was held in Zugdidi and Tbilisi. Parallel the program was organized cultural tours.
The summery project meeting was held at, Children and Youth National Center "of the Ministry of Sport and Youth Affairs.