Georgian President Salome Zurabishvili today announced that she pledges to pardon Giorgi Rurua if political actors sign the EU-backed compromise paper and enter the parliament.
"I am surprised by the statement made today by the ruling party that uses my name over and over again without my permission and consent and links it to one specific pardon. They have not understood that such a decision, especially in such a case but not only, should be made without expectations of criticism or praise and only if I deem it necessary. I think I have already shown this through my deeds.
I would like to remind everyone of one simple rule: the power of pardon is the discretion of the President and is not the subject of negotiations. I want to make it clear that the decision to pardon, as I have said more than once, is not subject to pressure, to instructions or demands, whether they may be from the opposition, the ruling party, or anyone else.
According to principle, the President does not speak about pardons and does not disclose motivation. However, because of some continuous appeals on this subject and because of the current situation, I am forced to violate this principle and state clearly my position to stop any speculation.
I think no one will be surprised to hear that for me and for the rest of society, someone with such a well-known past can be called many things, but not a political prisoner. That individual does not fit into any category of pardon by any means, be it righteousness, morality, or politics.
Nevertheless, as I once already took it upon myself, I believe here again that if what’s at stake is the country’s political stalemate, its stability, progress, and future, it is the President’s duty to put the country above her own views and principles.
With that in mind, I am ready to make a decision scandalous also for myself. But I make this decision only on my condition, that such a step must be the last step to end the crisis and pave the way for the country and for Parliament to enter a normal political life and deal with existing challenges without any other distractions.
This means that my decision will be implemented only when, on the one hand, the political parties sign the final document and enter Parliament, and on the other hand, the representatives of the European Union and the United States announce that an agreement has been reached. Once this announcement is done, I will sign the act of pardon within a week", - the President of Georgia Says.
President Salome Zourabichvili and H.E. Armen Sarkissian, President of the Republic of Armenia, held a face-to-face meeting, followed by an expanded format meeting, after which they issued statements at a joint press point. Below is President Zourabichvili’s statement.
“Mr. President, I am glad to host you in our country. This visit was planned long ago and unfortunately could not be carried out. The pandemic and the conflict in the region have greatly hindered us and we have not been able to organize this visit so far, so I am very happy to have the opportunity to receive you today at the Orbeliani Palace.
“Since our last meeting, we have faced very difficult challenges in the Caucasus.
“On the one hand, the pandemic affected the economies of all three countries, shutting down the world and claiming human lives. However, the casualties caused by the war were much greater for the region and the individual country. I would like to express my condolences and sympathies to the families of those killed during this war, Mr. President.
“As it was during the conflict, Georgia is on the side of peace. As a sign of this, our offer for a platform for meetings, dialogue and to ease the situation remains in place.
“I briefed the President of Armenia, Mr. Sarkissian, on the situation in the occupied territories of Georgia, including illegal borderization, kidnappings, human rights abuses, and the aggravated humanitarian situation and escalations during the pandemic.
“We all understand that any conflict in the region affects the whole region, so peace and cooperation have no alternative for the development of the Caucasus.
“Given the importance of stability in the region, we also discussed the alarming situation in Ukraine. The Black Sea region (and not only) is threatened with escalation and destabilization. We understand how important de-escalation is today for this region as well.
“We discussed the unique future economic potential of our region, with increased interest from various external actors, new plans or platforms. All this proves the great importance of this region. However, the role of the Caucasus countries remains crucial. The countries of the Caucasus must jointly define their future, considering the Caucasus in terms of its transit and other potential, I see it only as an open region.
“The implementation of large-scale projects to bring Asia and Europe across the Caucasus and the Black Sea requires the active participation of the EU, one of the main players, together with everyone and other stakeholders.
“It is important for the EU to be involved in the final settlement of the conflict, as well as in the implementation of following infrastructure plans within the Eastern Partnership.
“We also talked about our bilateral relations to strengthen and implement economic, touristic, and cultural projects.
“We are also proud of the fact that the Georgian citizens of Armenian origin have all the means to preserve the language and culture of their ancestors in this country. At the same time, more needs to be done, mainly by the State, so that they can fully master the state language and thus be able to integrate fully and participate in the economic or political development of the country.
“I am very happy with your visit today. We also discussed some of the initiatives that can be taken at our level, how to encourage business actors to start thinking and working together on specific projects. This will arouse the interest of investors not only for each country but also collectively, as such a format may be much more attractive.
“We started discussing this today, which will continue and which we will give a specific form. I have high hopes for this.
“Thank you very much, Mr. President, for your visit, and I am happy that such a close, friendly relationship has been and will be maintained over time!”
The World Health Day has been celebrated on April 7. Mass cycling ride has been timed to this international date, which is set in National calendar. President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov has taken part in the ride.
Deputy Chairmen of the Cabinet of Ministers, leaders of the Mejlis, heads of military and law enforcement agencies, ministries and departments, capital administrations, public organizations, mass media, universities and youth have gathered next to the Path of Health early in the morning.
Addressing the participants, President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov has congratulated all on the World Health Day. The head of the state highlighted that this wonderful day embodies high principles of friendship, peace and sports. In this regard, this day occupies special place in national calendar as an important date promoting consolidation of unity and solidarity of people.
Mass public physical training and sport activities held on honor of the World Health Day improve international authority of independent Turkmenistan as the country of health and high spirit, the head of the state said. Social and economic potential of our state, spiritual restoration, wealth of the nation and public health are closely connected to harmonious physical and spiritual development of generations.
Therefore, we attach special importance to development physical training, Olympic movement and sports in general, we deservingly continue such primordial national tradition as upbringing of physical and mentally fit, health generations, President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov noted.
This is visually indicated by the construction of big sport and equestrian complexes, stadiums, sport schools, Olympic village, by formation of modern profile infrastructure meeting the world level in the country.
Further, Turkmen leader highlighted that many bright events have been written in sport chronicle of our independent state. Turkmenistan has become a center of large-scale international and regional competitions. The success of Turkmenistan in this direction has been recognized by competent international organizations.
Being a member of International Olympic Committee and the Olympic Council of Asia, our country makes worthy contribution to development of the Olympic movement in the world. This year, the Olympic village of the capital will host the World Track Cycling Championship and the Davis Cup International Tennis Tournament.
These days, preparation for the above-mentioned big competitions and further strengthening of cooperation is carried out together with international sport organizations, the head of Turkmenistan continued.
Having congratulated the participants of the sport event on the World Health Day again, President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov wished all strong health, wealth and big success in work for improvement of Turkmenistan’s authority.
Further, the head of the state has given start to cycling ride, having headed the convoy of the participants, who were dressed in relative sport outfit. Following the President, everybody have started moving along the routes from the Path of health along Archabyl and Bitarap Turkmenistan Avenues of Ashgabat.
Bright performance of art artistic collectives were expanded on the start point and along the route.
Fosters of the Döwletliler köşgi Palace have joined the participants of the ride near Älem Cultural and Entertainment Center. Young participants of sport and health improving actions have joined the ride on the bicycles presented them by the President of the country.
In the last years, Ashgabat, which is a center of active political, business, cultural and social life of the country according to the status of the main city of the country, has turned into significant center of the world sports.
Powerful modern infrastructure including all necessary for going in for various sports including non-traditional sports for our hot climate like ice-hockey and figure skating, which Turkmenistan citizens learn with big interest and enthusiasm, have been made for short period.
List of the most important sport facilities has been added with big profile facilities in a short period, which did not have analogues in the region until now.
Owing to deeply thought socially oriented policy of President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov, physical training and sports have gained a big number of supporters in Turkmenistan, which is by right recognized as a country of health and high spirit today.
Major work is carried out under the leadership of the head of the state for assertion of healthy life style in the society, popularization of mass physical training and health improving movement and sport of the highest achievements as well as to establishment of Turkmenistan as big sport country of international level.
Our country puts high humanistic meaning into this activity directly co-relating the following of ideas of the Olympic movement with implementation of the Sustainable development goals, which are aimed at making of the conditions for maximum opening of human potential.
Today, the sports is intended to be an important component of international cooperation while sportsmen – messengers of peace, who assert high ideas of the Olympic movement with their skills and will.
…Meanwhile, the caravan of the participants of the cycling ride led by the President of Turkmenistan has continued moving along beautiful streets of the city.
The head of the state notes that mass sport events held in the country have an educational function in addition to health improving importance promoting the formation of ecological outlook in the society as good ecology and health are two inseparable factors.
The most eco-friendly transport, the bicycle, is an excellent tools for travelling around one’s homeland. At the same time, President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov always emphasizes the need of careful attitude to the environment and support of favorable ecological conditions paying close attention to this subject.
Following the route, the cyclists continued riding along Bitarap Turkmenistan Avenue toward the center of the capital, which impresses with monumentality and beauty of its architectural look.
President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov enters the main square of the country with the Government tribune and finishes the ride.
After sport action, the head of the state has noted that current cycling ride on occasion of the World Health Day is to support further active involvement of the population to mass physical training and health improving movement.
Turkmen leader said that similar activities, which also have an ecological orientation, not only make good effect on people’s health but also support consolidation of the society, inspire people to achieve new success.
President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov highlighted that remarkable dates in life of the country and society would be marked this year. On the threshold of the 140th anniversary of Ashgabat, the emphasis shall be laid upon on maintaining clean city and development of the capital, provision of high level of preparation to the events, the President said addressing instructions to relevant officials.
Saying goodbye to the participants of sport action, President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov wished all success and left the place of event.
Cycling rides and various sport events timed to the World Health Day have also been held in all regions of the country.
On March 10, 2021, an awarding ceremony of the merited athletes of the country with the participation of the President of Turkmenistan, President of the National Olympic Committee of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov was held in the Sports Complex of the Martial Arts of the Olympic town.
The ceremony was attended by the members of the Government, as well as coaches and leading athletes of the country.
In the course of the ceremony the President of Turkmenistan, President of the National Olympic Committee of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov presented a solemn speech.
Then, President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov awarded the gold medal to Yulduz Djumabayeva, who became the winner of the World Weightlifting Championship held in November 2018 in Ashkhabad.
As is known, International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) on its official website had renewed the protocols of the World Weightlifting Championship of 2018, having recognized Yulduz Djumabayeva the winner of that tournament in the weight category up to 45 kilograms.
So, following the revision of the results, the Turkmen athlete, who has updated world records among juniors in double-event (179 kgs), was awarded a gold medal in the “clean and jerk” discipline (104 kgs), and silver medal in the “snatch” discipline (75 kgs).
After that, Interim President of International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) doctor Michael Irani and Secretary General of International Weightlifting Federation (IWF), Vice-President of the Asian Weightlifting Federation Mohammed Jalood made their presentations via videoconferencing.
High-ranking representatives of the IWF noted that the awarding of the merited athlete Yulduz Djumabayeva in Turkmen capital testifies to the fact that traditional sports are reborn in the country, which provide Turkmen sport with a worthy place in the world. This is recognition of dedication to work of Turkmen athletes who gained significant results.
On the 4th of March 2021, the President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov participated to the 14th Summit of the Economic Cooperation Organization which was held via videoconferencing. It is vital to note that the chairmanship in ECO in 2021 has passed to Turkmenistan.
The heads of states and governments of ECO Member States, as well as the chiefs of international organizations, particularly the Energy Charter and the Turkic Council participated to the Summit with the theme of “Regional Economic Cooperation in the Aftermath of Covid-19”.
Speaking at the Summit, the President of Turkmenistan voiced the priority vectors of cooperation in the framework of the chairmanship of the country in the Organization and underlined that the state intends to actively promote the work of ECO with the focus on the development of trade-economic, cultural and humanitarian ties. It was stated that the unfolding of the transport-transit, energy, industrial and communication potential of ECO is in the center of Turkmenistan’s strategy in its capacity as the chairing country.
During the Summit, a constructive exchange of views took place on numerous projects of the Organization that are being implemented. The participants appraised the current state of economic cooperation which is impacted by the global pandemic and considered the opportunities of reestablishing and expanding full partnership.
The participants of the Summit congratulated the President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov with assuming the chairmanship in the Economic Cooperation Organization and welcomed the vision of Turkmenistan on intensifying the work of ECO. The next, 15th Summit of ECO is planned to take place in Turkmenistan.
Nine months ago, I made a personally difficult and painful decision for society that was aimed at maintaining state stability, and served to defeat a political crisis and polarization.
Unfortunately, polarization, tensions and confrontation continue to increase on a daily basis. Putting the electoral results declared legitimate under question, using any type of disobedience, encouraging social and public protests serve to weaken and destabilize the country.
This can lead to dire consequences - losing public confidence in democratic institutions is tantamount to setting a crushing precedent, not only for us but for democracies stronger than us. Respecting the election result and acknowledging loss is the cornerstone of democracy! The rejection of these democratic principles pleases only those forces, inside and outside the country, who put their political ambitions above the interests of the country and those in the region who perceive Georgia’s stability and democracy as a threat.
Today, I held a meeting with representatives of the diplomatic corps and discussed the current situation in detail. I believe that there is a need for immediate de-escalation of the situation and easing of tensions, which need, first of all, a real constructive dialogue, so that these processes do not damage the stability of the country and its international image.
Through my experience, I am ready to support all forms of dialogue, but I am convinced that compromise is only justified when both sides are ready for constructive dialogue and not when concessions are perceived as weakness, or even more so when it can be seen as someone's own victory. Constructive dialogue is also opposed to the imposition of preconditions and the radicalization of processes.
I, as the guarantor of this country’s independence, sovereignty, Europeanness, democratic development and therefore stability, reflecting on the interests of the country and of every citizen, believe that we will all be victorious through calm and development.
I hope that the Prime Minister-nominee and his future government will be able to end this severe process and will not allow anyone to put personal political ambitions above the country’s interests and endanger those institutions that are the foundation for a democratic and legal state.
Strasbourg, 25.01.2021 – Rik Daems, re-elected today for a second one-year term as President of the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly (PACE), thanked members for their confidence and welcomed the holding of PACE’s first hybrid plenary session.
In his re-investiture speech, he stressed that while PACE’s savoir faire had brought many positive results throughout 2020 – be it the establishment of red lines not to be crossed during the Covid-19 pandemic, new standards in the field of artificial intelligence or the “trialogue” with the Committee of Ministers – the faire savoir was impossible as members could not meet under normal conditions. “Meeting in person is essential to interconnect, to convince and be convinced and to take on board all perspectives,” he added.
Rik Daems called on members not to ask “what the Council of Europe can do for us”, but “to look at what we can do to uphold the values and therefore contribute to the activities and mission of the Council of Europe.”
“Why are we here? Because we care about fundamental rights and freedoms, democracy and the rule of law,” he stressed, inviting all members “to see PACE as a vehicle for upholding the values we share. Common values are more important than our interests.”
“We, members of this Assembly, care about the fact that people are equal. Being equal is not being the same, this is why we are united in diversity. We care about human rights to be enjoyed by all citizens in all our 47 member States.”
“We care that people are free to enjoy and able to pursue their happiness. We care about the fact that no one should be above the law. This is what the rule of law is all about. Because we think, we care, we need to help people to decide. All members should be on board, this is what democracy is about,” he concluded.
PRESIDENTS OF TURKMENISTAN AND AFGHANISTAN TOOK PART IN THE COMMISSIONING OF A NUMBER OF JOINT INFRASTRUCTURESThursday, 14 January 2021 16:44
Today, on the 14th of January 2021, the opening ceremony of 30 km long railway between Aqina and Andkhoy stations and the commissioning of the international fiber-optic communication system and transit flows from Ymamnazar (Turkmenistan) to Aqina (Afghanistan) and from Serhetabat (Turkmenistan) to Torghundi (Afghanistan), as well as the power transmission line from Turkmen city of Kerki to Afghan city of Sheberghan was held in participation of the Presidents of Turkmenistan and the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan.
After announcing the ceremony opened, the moderator of the event asked the President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov and President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan Mohammad Ashraf Ghani to make a speech. For this, a teleconference was established.
First, the President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov addressed to the audience. His speech was listened by the participants of the event present in the “Rukhiyet” Palace of the Lebap region. The participants of the ceremony in Afghanistan, as well as in the Mary region observed the event via teleconference.
In his speech, the President of Turkmenistan said that “all three projects that have been completed in short time are united by a common meaning and goal – to give strong impulse and ensure long-term development of our countries, well-being and prosperity of Turkmen and Afghan people, assist expanded international cooperation, mutual understanding, political and social stability.” He also noted that the implementation of given projects was the result of multiyear close and constrictive Turkmen-Afghan cooperation.
Then, President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan Mohammad Ashraf Ghani who was watching the ceremony in the Presidential Palace of Kabul addressed the audience. Warmly welcoming the participants, he noted that these events have special meaning for Afghanistan and his people. Speaking about the origins of the given projects, the head of Afghanistan highlighted their importance not only from the perspective of socio-economic reestablishment of the country, but also from the prospect of regional economic integration. The head of Afghanistan expressed gratitude to the leadership of Turkmenistan for fraternal support and care about the close neighbor. He noted that Turkmenistan unites not only the countries of the region, but also of the whole world. The participants of the event listened to the address of the President Ashraf Ghani through a teleconference.
Then, the heads of railway transport, energy and communication sectors of Turkmenistan and Afghanistan made speeches. They told about the outstanding work done on the part of Turkmenistan and Afghanistan for the implementation of current infrastructures and informed about the readiness to the commissioning of railway between Aqina and Andkhoy stations, international fiber-optic communication system and transit flows from Ymamnazar (Turkmenistan) to Aqina (Afghanistan) and from Serhetabat (Turkmenistan) to Torghundi (Afghanistan), as well as the power transmission line from Turkmen city of Kerki to Afghan city of Sheberghan.
Upon the completion of these speeches, the moderators of the ceremony asked the President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov and the President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan Mohammad Ashraf Ghani to give their blessings for the commissioning of the given facilities.
Thus, the participants of the ceremony saw through a teleconference how the railway carriage consisting of 20 loaded cars left from the Aqina station to Andkhoy city in festive setting.
Besides, the commissioning of the power transmission line from Kerki to Sheberghan took place through the use of special equipment. The participants of the event observed the transmission of electricity through the line that was shown on the screen by a technological imitation model.
Also, the participants of the ceremony watched the video presentation of the commissioning of the international fiber-optic communication system and transit flows from Ymamnazar (Turkmenistan) to Aqina (Afghanistan) and Serhetabat (Turkmenistan) to Torghundi (Afghanistan).
Upon the completion of the ceremony, gratitude was expressed to the Presidents of Turkmenistan and the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan for participation in the event.
Today, on December 4, 2020, the opening of a mosque constructed in the township of Akina of the Andkhoy etrap of Faryab province of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan took place as a friendly gesture from the Turkmen side to the Afghan people.
As is known, in accordance with the Resolution of President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov, the construction of a mosque for 500 seats started on November 2018. This decision was taken within the framework of support provided by Turkmenistan to achieve stability and security in Afghanistan, including humanitarian assistance to the brotherly Afghan people.
The opening ceremony was attended by a representative Turkmen delegation headed by the Chief Mufti of the country Y. Khojagulyev, which also included the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Turkmenistan to the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan H. Ovezov, Consul of Turkmenistan in the city of Mazar-i-Sharif B. Kabaev, imams of Mary and Lebap velayats of the country and representatives of the Turkmen media.
On behalf of the Afghan side, the ceremony was attended by the Minister of Hajj and Islamic Affairs Mohammad Qasim Halimi, khyakim of Jovzjan province Lotfullah Azizi, khyakim of Faryab Nakibullah Faik province, representatives of the above Ministry and the IRA Foreign Ministry branch in Mazar-i-Sharif, representatives of departments and state services of the township of Aqina , as well as numerous Turkmens living in these regions.
The opening of the mosque on the eve of the 25th anniversary of the permanent Neutrality of Turkmenistan is especially symbolic. Turkmenistan, being a neutral state, whose status is enshrined in the relevant resolutions of the UN General Assembly, is doing a tremendous job to promote political and diplomatic, trade-economic, cultural and humanitarian cooperation in the entire region.
Turkmenistan pays great attention to the stable development of the neighboring country and renders fraternal solidarity and active support in its integration into the peaceful course of development.
Also, today, in honor of the opening of a new spiritual facility for the Afghan people, a humanitarian cargo was sent from Turkmenistan to the Afghan provinces of Jovzjan, Herat and Faryab, consisting of medicines and medical supplies and means, household, textile and food products produced in Turkmenistan.
A representative delegation from Turkmenistan, as well as high-ranking officials of various departments of Afghanistan, took part in the delivery ceremony of humanitarian aid in the township of Turgundi, Herat province.
Telephone conversation of between President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov and Emir of the State of Qatar Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamed Al Thani was held yesterday.
During telephone conversation, the President of Turkmenistan and the Emir of Qatar have stated high level of interstate dialog, which is successfully developed owing to mutual goodwill of the sides, having highlighted the presence of wide perspectives for intensification of beneficial cooperation in priority directions.
In this regard, the intent of both countries to strengthen productive trade and economic partnership, to promote close business contacts in various spheres has been confirmed.
Oil and gas sector, transport and communication sphere, chemical and textile industry, trade and investments, which have big opportunities for long-term cooperation and implementation of joint projects, have been outlined among perspective directions of cooperation.
At the same time, it was highlighted that traditional cooperation in humanitarian and cultural field, which is based on similarity of historical roots, spiritual and cultural values of both nations, is an integral part of Turkmen – Qatari relations.
Having exchanged the views on current issues of regional and global agenda, the sides highlighted the commitment of Turkmenistan and the State of Qatar to long partnership under competent international organizations, where our countries demonstrate mutual support of constructive proposals and initiatives.
Turkmen leader has invited the Head of friendly state to make and official visit to our country at any convenient time. The invitation has been accepted with gratitude. The time of the visit will be agreed through diplomatic channels.
In the end of the telephone conversation, President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov and Emir of the State of Qatar Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani have confirmed mutual intent of the sides to develop fruitful interstate dialog in all directions, having wished health and success to each other and peace, wealth and prosperity to fraternal nations of both countries.
The telephone conversation has been initiated by Qatari side.