The 23rd Meeting of the OSCE Ministerial Council will be held in Hamburg

Published in Politics
Thursday, 08 December 2016 14:40
The 23rd Meeting of the OSCE Ministerial Council will be held in Hamburg on 8 and 9 December 2016. The Georgian delegation, headed by Foreign Minister Mikheil Janelidze, will take part in the meeting.
Mikheil Janelidze will deliver a speech at the plenary session of the OSCE Ministerial Council. The Georgian Foreign Minister will held meetings with the Geneva Talks co-chairs, heads of the OSCE institutions and his counterparts, Foreign Ministers.    


The Georgian and Greek Foreign Ministers have discussed the prospects for co-operation between the two countries

Published in Politics
Wednesday, 07 December 2016 13:21
Georgian Foreign Minister Mikheil Janelidze held a meeting with his Greek counterpart Nikos Kotzias. Talking points included traditional partner relations between the two countries. The two Ministers underlined the importance of appropriate celebration of the 25th anniversary of establishment of the diplomatic relations between Georgia and Greece. In this respect, Mikheil Janelidze invited his colleague to pay an official visit to Georgia to mark this date.
Mikheil Janelidze and Nikos Kotzias highlighted a huge potential of co-operation in different spheres and the importance of high-level political consultations with a view to further enhancing the relations. Mikheil Janelidze expressed Georgia’s readiness to host the next round of political consultations between the two Foreign Ministries in Tbilisi.
Mikheil Janelidze and Nikos Kotzias discussed opportunities of development of relations in the trade and economic spheres. 
Nikos Kotzias reaffirmed Greece’s support for Georgia’s European and Euro-Atlantic integration and underlined the importance of granting Georgia visa-free travel with the EU.  Nikos Kotzias expressed his readiness to visit Tbilisi in the near future.   

The Estonian Foreign Minister will visit Georgia during Estonia’s EU presidency

Published in Politics
Wednesday, 07 December 2016 11:32

Georgian Foreign Minister Mikheil Janelidze held a meeting with newly appointed Estonian Foreign Minister Sven Mikser. Talking points included friendly and partner relations between the two countries. Estonia’s strong support for Georgia’s European and Euro-Atlantic integration and the importance of practical assistance rendered by Estonia in this process were underlined. The two sides expressed the hope that the relations between their countries in terms of the European integration will acquire particular dynamics during Estonia’s EU presidency in the second half of 2017. Sven Mikser reaffirmed his readiness to visit Georgia.  
Speaking about the visa-free travel, the two Foreign Ministers highlighted the importance of granting Georgia visa-free travel with the EU and underlined that this will be one of the most important tangible results of the EU successful policy in the region.   
According to Sven Mikser, Estonia remains committed to the open door policy. The Estonian Foreign Minister underlined Georgia’s impressive progress in the process of Euro-Atlantic integration and stated that Georgia makes significant contribution to the Euro-Atlantic security process, takes part in NATO operations and is actively involved in the Alliance’s activity at different levels.   
Discussions also focused on the security challenges in the region. Sven Mikser reaffirmed his support for Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and condemned Russia’s annexation policy in Georgia’s occupied territories. Mikheil Janelidze thanked his colleague for Estonia’s active participation in EU monitoring mission.  
Mikheil Janelidze underlined that the Government of Georgia makes maximum use of Estonia’s experience in the process of carrying out reforms and focused on the existing successful co-operation between the two countries in different formats. The Georgian Foreign Minister also welcomed the decision to hold the annual meeting of the speakers of parliament of the Baltic and Nordic countries in Tbilisi in 2017.

Giorgi Kvirikashvili met with ELMAR BROK

Published in Politics
Thursday, 01 December 2016 14:30

Giorgi Kvirikashvili, Prime Minister of Georgia met with Mr. Elmar Brok, Chairman of the European Parliament Committee on Foreign Affairs within the scope of his official visit to Brussels today.
Parties discussed the current cooperation between European Union (EU) and Georgia and prospects of future interaction. Head of the Government of Georgia (GOG) focused on the need to engage in an intensive dialogue with the European Parliament and active role of the latter in the process of EU association. He also stressed the importance of clear support from the European Parliament in the process of visa-liberalization for Georgian citizens. Chairman of the European Parliament Committee on Foreign Affairs once again confirmed that Georgia has adhered to all the commitments and requirements of the visa-liberalization process. He expressed hopes for the smooth development of the process in future. Meeting held at the European Parliament was also related to the current and anticipated democratic reforms in Georgia, including those in the judiciary system of the country.
Importance of general elections held in a free, fair and competitive environment for the expression of the will by the country's electorate was stressed at the meeting.
Meeting was also attended by H.E. Mikheil Janelidze, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Georgia and H.E. Victor Dolidze, State Minister of Georgia for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration.

Meeting with Manfred Weber

Published in Politics
Thursday, 01 December 2016 11:59

As part of his state visit to Brussels, Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili held a meeting with Manfred Weber, the Chair of the European People's Party Group. The parties discussed the core issues of EU-Georgia relations. The discussion involved visa liberalization, ways to implement the Association Agreement, and Georgia's ongoing reforms.
At the meeting, special emphasis was placed on the importance of more intense dialogue with the European Parliament and its active contribution to Georgia's association process with the EU. The Prime Minister thanked the European Parliament for its unwavering support of Georgia in the visa liberalization process.
According to the Chair of the European People's Party Group, Georgia remains committed to continuing its political association and economic integration with the European Union. He expressed hope that Georgian citizens will be granted short-term visa-free stay in the near future.
Giorgi Kvirikashvili introduced Manfred Weber to the four-point agenda for Georgia's rapid development, which involves economic reform, creation of a system of professional education, ushering in spatial planning, and governance reform.
Special attention at the meeting was paid to the security issues in the region and the situation in Georgia's occupied territories.
The meeting, which was held at the European Parliament, was attended by Georgian Foreign Minister Mikheil Janelidze and State Minister on European and Euro-Atlantic Integration Victor Dolidze.

Visit by UK’s Minister of State for Europe and the Americas to Georgia

Published in Politics
Tuesday, 29 November 2016 10:35

Foreign Minister of Georgia H.E. Mikheil Janelidze welcomed H.E Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, the Rt Hon Alan Duncan MP for a bilateral visit to Georgia. The visit took place in parallel with the third round of the high level UK-Georgia bilateral “Wardrop” Dialogue, led by Foreign Minister of Georgia, Mikheil Janelidze and Minister of State for Foreign & Commonwealth Affairs of the United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland, the Rt Hon Sir Alan Duncan MP. The dialogue is named after Sir Oliver Wardrop, an expert on Georgian language and culture who was posted to Tbilisi as the UK’s first Chief Commissioner of the Transcaucasus from 1919-1921.
Summary: Discussions during the Wardrop Dialogue covered current and future UK-Georgia cooperation in the political, defence and security spheres;  process for Georgia’s integration  with the EU and NATO; progress on priority reforms, including the government’s 4 point reform plan, and judicial reform in Georgia; and an exchange of views on regional political and security developments. Both sides positively evaluated the work achieved under the Wardrop Dialogue banner so far in the fields of foreign policy, security and defence, business and the economy. The introduction of a new session on People-to-People relations brought a new element to this year’s Wardrop Dialogue, with a particular emphasis on developing educational ties, cultural collaboration and city twinning. 
At the opening Ministerial Plenary Session Minister Janelidze gave an update on developments in Georgia since the last session in 2015, including the October Parliamentary elections, and a forward look at the new Government of Georgia's agenda. Minister for Europe and the Americas Rt Hon Sir Alan Duncan MP said that the UK looked forward to continuing to work with  Georgia, and gave an update on developments in the UK since the last Dialogue in 2015. He stressed that the UK would maintain a leading role in global affairs through the UNSC, NATO, G7, and G20, and that the UK’s decision to leave the EU would not mean any reduction in its interest in, or commitment to, Georgia and the wider region.  Minister Duncan stressed that the UK follows the conflict in Georgia and he condemned the ratification by the Russian Federation of the so-called “agreement” on the creation of a joint group of armed forces in Abkhazia region. In recognition of the value of this annual Dialogue and the close ties between our two countries, Minister Janelidze and Minister Duncan agreed to an upgrade of the UK-Georgia dialogue to become the “Wardrop Strategic Dialogue”.
During official level discussions, the two sides discussed cooperation on political, security and defence issues; business and economic cooperation; and the potential for further expanding people-to-people ties, education and cultural links. In the political, security and defence discussions, the UK side noted that the October parliamentary elections had been competitive and well-administered, and expressed its strong continuing support for Georgia’s European and Euro-Atlantic integration aspirations.
The UK also reiterated once again its support for the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Georgia within its internationally recognized borders, and expressed concern over the grave security and human rights situation in Georgia’s regions of Abkhazia and Tskhinvali region/South Ossetia. The UK firmly supports the peaceful resolution of the conflict in Georgia, based on full respect of the fundamental norms and principles of international law and the 12 August 2008 Ceasefire Agreement.
The two sides welcomed the strong security and defence relationship between their two Governments, noting the extent of defence cooperation, and welcoming continued exchange of expertise on Cyber and Counter-Terrorism issues. The UK expressed its appreciation for Georgia’s continuing contribution to the NATO-led Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan. Both sides welcomed the participation of 160 British military personnel in the US-Georgia military exercise Noble Partner 2016.
The two sides discussed further potential for deepening business and commercial ties, noting that the UK was the second biggest investor in Georgia and that bilateral trade is on an increasing trend. They highlighted the importance of the South Caucasus pipeline as an important component of European energy security.
Finally, the two sides welcomed strong existing people-to-people links and explored ways to increase educational and cultural ties between the UK and Georgia, including the activities undertaken by the British Council in Georgia, English language training programmes, the growing number of Chevening Scholarships for Georgia, with 17 Chevening scholars this year alone, and the strong partnerships represented by the twinning associations between Newport and Kutaisi; Tbilisi and Bristol; and Newcastle and Akhaltsikhe. Both sides agreed that all efforts should be made to support and develop these links further.

Government of Georgia

Published in Politics
Tuesday, 29 November 2016 10:19

The members of the Parliament of Georgia late on Saturday night issued a resounding vote of confidence in the new government, following a full day of hearings with the Prime Minister-designate Giorgi Kvirikashvili and his proposed cabinet. The new government, which retains 13 ministers and brings in five new faces following the elections which returned the ruling Georgian Dream with a strengthened mandate, presented its programme for the coming term. President Margvelashvili confirmed the appointment of PM Kvirikashvili with a decree this morning. The Prime Minister has two days to appoint the ministers.
The ministerial changes and four-year governmental plan were approved by 110 votes in favour, 19 against and 21 abstentions.
Prime Minister Kvirikashvili thanked his team, the MPs and the people of Georgia for the smooth but intensive process of the elections and government confirmation. Following the vote he made a call for unity, saying: "We are given today a historic opportunity to make over the coming years an enormous contribution to the future positive development of our country. I urge you all to put anything personal aside and focus on the tremendous effort ahead of us."
The new government brings together a team of experienced and well-qualified ministers. In an effort to ensure stability, 13 ministers serving in the previous government will continue in their functions, including Minister of Foreign Affairs Mikheil Janelidze, Minister of Defense Levan Izoria and Minister of Justice Tea Tsulukiani.
Among the new names, Victor Dolidze will serve as State Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic integration. The Prime Minister praised the incoming State Minister as "an experienced and good diplomat" and "constructive partner" for Georgia's European path - Dolidze has extensive experience in EU and international affairs having served as Permanent Representative to OSCE and Parliament speaker for European affairs. His predecessor David Bakradze has been appointed Ambassador to the US.
Former Minister of Economy Dimitri Kumsishvili will take up the post of Finance Minister, retaining his role as first deputy prime minister, while Georgian Dream party secretary General Kakha Kaladze will be deputy prime minister, returning to the post of Energy Minister he held before a temporary leave to run for elections. The Ministry of Economy will be led by Giorgi Gakharia, the former business ombudsman and Chairman of the Economic Council, while Zurab Alavidze will become Minister for Regional Development and Infrastructure. In an effort to streamline policy-making the Diaspora Issues portfolio has been merged with the Foreign Ministry.
The government's action plan for 2016-2020 - "Freedom, Rapid Development and Welfare" - will be based on earlier offered Four Point Reform Agenda, which prioritises new tax benefits, infrastructure plans, governance reforms and an overhaul of the education system. The aim of the government's economic policy will on the one hand develop private sector and on the other hand ensure to help the Georgian people in most need of state support.

Foreign Relations, Diaspora and Caucasus Issues and the EU Integration Committees' sitting

Published in Politics
Friday, 25 November 2016 12:30

The Committees voted confidence to the candidates for Ministry of Foreign Affaris, Mikheil Janelidze and for State Ministry of EU and NATO Integration, Victor Dolidze. The PM candidate introduced the Governmental Program “Freedom, Rapid Development, Welfare” for 2016-2020 and the composition of the Government.
Mikheil Janelidze spoke about main priorities of foreign policy. Enhancement of security and sovereignty, de-occupation and restoration of territorial integrity, peaceful resolution of conflict with Russia, EU and NATO integration, facilitation to economic development, promotion of the positive image of Georgia worldwide and close links with Georgian Diaspora were named as the main priorities. He stated that the only format recognized and developed with participation of international partnership society is Geneva Talks for peaceful resolution of conflict, de-occupation and territorial integrity. “In this direction we managed to regulate the process and to put it in dialogue mode”. “Consolidation of international efforts is one of the main directions on all Geneva Talks rounds in view of provision of security and human rights protection in the occupied regions of Georgia and we actively discuss this issue in international organizations”.
M. Janelidze spoke about non-recognition of independence of the occupied regions. “As a result of our policy, sundry states have recalled recognition in 2013-2014”. He emphasized the decisions made recently to underline relevancy and active consideration of occupation and Georgia-Russia conflict on international agenda. One of the vital priorities of foreign agenda will be mobilization of international efforts to facilitate dignified and safe return of IDPs.
He also spoke about EU and NATO integration and named full-fledged integration to NATO as the priority task of foreign and security policy and pre-condition for enhancement of security and stable development of the country. He touched upon the decisions made at NATO Warsaw Summit in 2016. “The initiatives were adopted at NATO Warsaw Summit in July, 2016 in the priority directions such are: air defense capacity, joint trainings, Black Sea security cooperation, crisis management development and improvement of strategic communication”. Dignified return of IDPs will be further supported.
He also spoke about bilateral and multilateral diplomacy. “The Georgian Government will further continue strategic cooperation with USA as the main ally of Georgia. It also will be important to enhance cooperation with EU member states and orientation to strategic partnership. Within the rational and de-escalation policy, we will further facilitate to trade-economic and cultural contacts with Russia”.
M. Janelidze touched upon enhancement of cooperation with neighboring countries – Turkey, Azerbaijan and Armenia. He overviewed the future plans and implemented projects. “I, as the Head of the Foreign Ministry, consider institutional reforms as priority to enhance our diplomacy and to provide diplomats with due conditions”.
Mr. Victor Dolidze stated that one of the priority tasks for Georgia is EU and NATO integration. He noted that the political dialogue on EU integration will further continue with EU member states. “We attach particular attention to expectation management to ensure awareness of our citizens about the expectations. They shall well understand why NATO and EU instead of Eurasia. We shall provide them with information. Public awareness always was and will further be one of the most important spheres for cooperation”. The important link will be the Strategic Communication Department at the Ministry. Similar departments are set up in Foreign Affairs and Defense Ministries. “So-called media campaign is also important for public awareness, which implies communication with society. Our citizens shall have comprehensive information about NATO and EU integration and benefits for Georgia leading to full-fledged membership of European family. Coordination only is not enough. The State shall make real steps especially in the spheres, such are: economy, tourism, education, healthcare, social protection etc”.
He underlined importance of the Parliament in strategic communication. “Involvement of the Parliament in strategic communication will be important. We can jointly or severally visit the regions, especially the settlements with minorities and highlands to provide the habitants with the information about the benefits of EU and NATO integration”. 
After the reports, the Committees held the secret ballot resulting in:

  • Foreign Relations Committee – 9 votes against 1;
  • Diaspora and Caucasus Issues Committee – 10 votes unanimously;
  • EU Integration Committee – 10 votes against 2

According to the Decree of the President of Georgia, the extraordinary plenary session will be held on Saturday, November 26 at 12h00 following the Faction sittings on November 25.



Mikheil Janelidze: “Georgia may be the best platform in the region for Britain’s business”

Published in Politics
Thursday, 24 November 2016 16:13

Georgian Foreign Minister Mikheil Janelidze made this statement at the joint press conference with Minister of State for Europe and the Americas at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Sir Alan Duncan, who visited Georgia in the frames of the third round of the Wardrop Strategic Dialogue.   
The Georgian Foreign Minister thanked the Minister of State for visiting Georgia and for the positive assessment of the parliamentary elections held in Georgia.  
Mikheil Janelidze noted that economy is one of the main priorities of the co-operation with the United Kingdom and underlined that the country is one of the biggest investors in Georgia and that it is important to present Georgia as a country that has much to offer to British investors.    
“Georgia being an open democracy is ready to enhance free trade and economic ties and to support business relations. Georgia may be the best platform in the region for Great Britain to do business. Economy is the main direction of our strategic co-operation. Our co-operation lasts for many years. Great Britain is one of the biggest investors in Georgia’s economy. It should be noted that this year the 20th anniversary of British Petroleum (BP) successful operations in Georgia was celebrated.  This was the first important strategic project, which was developed and on the basis of which we have developed other projects. BP continues to invest and to develop projects, which support the energy security in Europe,” Mikheil Janelidze said.  
Particular emphasis was put on the existing close relations between the two countries in the spheres of education, culture and science, the most notable examples of which are the British Government’s exchange study programmes and the special project to mark the anniversaries of William Shakespeare and Shota Rustaveli.
The bilateral political dialogue – Wardrop Dialogue – founded in 2014, is dedicated to the discussions of British-Georgian bilateral, regional and multilateral co-operation in the spheres of policy, security, defence, economy, culture and education.

Mikheil Janelidze: The Ministry will promote the involvement of the diaspora in the Georgia’s image enhancement and popularisation

Published in Politics
Friday, 18 November 2016 14:39
“Tens of thousands of representatives of the Georgian diaspora represent a vital link in establishing and enhancing bilateral relations between Georgia and foreign countries and the Government will make every effort to promote people’s diplomacy, one of the most important mechanisms of foreign policy,” Georgian Foreign Minister Mikheil Janelidze said delivering a speech at the Conference “Georgian Diaspora – Present days and Challenges”. 
According to Mikheil Janelidze, the Ministry will promote the active involvement of the diaspora in the process of popularisation and creation of a positive image of Georgia abroad that is one of the key priorities of foreign policy.   
The Minister focused on new initiatives and projects launched for Georgian citizens abroad. Particular emphasis was put on the student studying in foreign countries. “These young people are the future of our nation and we will make every effort for them to come back to Georgia and to utilize their knowledge, skills and experience for the benefit of the country,” the Minister noted.


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