2022 Address to the Parliament of Georgia by President Salome Zourabichvili. "Horrible scenes are unfolding before our eyes today. Hospitals, children's oncological hospitals, kindergartens and schools, even churches of a same faith bombed by Russia. Evacuation of the elderly and pregnant women.
The relentless struggle of Ukrainian soldiers, or ordinary citizens, to defend their land, homeland and save their independence: such a selfless struggle against Russian aggression only evokes in us respect, solidarity and support.
Georgia has stood and stands by Ukraine and Ukrainians!
I would like to ask you to stand up and show our solidarity!
Let us honor the selfless heroes with a minute of silence!
I want to thank the representative of Ukraine here, Mr. Andrii Kasianov, and with him all those who are defending our freedom and our European future today in Kyiv, in Odessa, in Mariupol.
I want you to know that we are expressing the united spirit of all of Georgia here. We express here, all of us gathered here, the support of the State and of all its institutions, of all political forces and of ordinary citizens. I also want to emphasize that today, the Church is represented here with us and together, we all express our full support for Ukraine and for the Ukrainians!
Today, from those looking at this tragedy, we Georgians understand what Russian centuries-old imperialism means, we Georgians understand and share the most what the Ukrainian nation is going through.
Ukraine and Georgia went through one path: liberation from the Russian Empire, independence, invasion by Soviet Russia and its following uprisings, repressions and the Holodomor; restoration of independence, separatist conflicts provoked by Russia, more war and more occupation. Despite all this, no one and nothing could stop us from freedom and independence. No one and nothing could make us deviate from the historical European path we have chosen.
The history of Georgia, just as the history of Ukraine, is a history of pride and devotion. History is an example of trials and tribulations, of relentless, heroic, selfless struggle against the invaders. This is how a nation is created. The miracle of the centuries-old history of the Georgian nation has been and is in its endurance, its resilience, its unbreakability, its pride! Today, we see the same attitude in Ukraine, and I believe it can only lead to victory.
Today, not only Ukraine, but the whole world is facing the hardest days, but the battle of Ukraine, whether it is won or not, is already successful! Successful, because these events opened the eyes of the world and woke us up.
Undoubtedly, Ukraine's merit is unprecedented international solidarity and unity in this solidarity. Undoubtedly, Ukraine's merit is the unprecedented unanimity and firmness of the European Union, the joint actions of the United States and Europe. Through its accomplishment, Russia is isolated today, weakened tomorrow.
Today is a turning point for everyone, including Georgia, because today we are facing great challenges that may become even more severe tomorrow. Yet at the same time, as is usual in history, with new challenges, crises and wars come new opportunities. New roads are opening up. On this new path, Georgia must take its place. We need to understand what is happening, understand and prepare for every possible event and not sit idly by and wait for what the future holds. This is the obligation of all of us who sit here before the country! Time is running out. If we do not prepare for new events, new threats and new opportunities now, that time will not come back.
That is why I fail to understand and cannot tolerate, that today, at such a crucial time for our country and for all of us, instead of ending quarrels, fights, enmities, destructive confrontations and polarizations at this crossroads, those of you gathered here forget what is reflected on our coat of arms: “Strength is in Unity!”
Society is much more awake than you, conscious, brave and most importantly united. Today I see that signs of national accord have been awakened in the people, although I do not see it in you. Do you not understand what responsibilities you have all together before your people?
And today both sides, both the ruling power and the opposition, are sinning and sinning in front of the country!
The majority, instead of seeking consent, chastises anyone who disagrees as traitor and sometimes as party to war. The opposition, instead of seeking accord, declares any statement or decision of the government as pro-Russian.
Both approaches, in addition to being completely unacceptable and reminiscent of the methods of the Soviet past, are detrimental to country, both from the inside and the outside, and to some extent dangerous. At home, they cause division, weaken us, deprive us of power, confuse and frighten society. Outside the country, they make incomprehensible the sustainability and purposefulness of our national aspirations.
The government sins when it does not dare to express what our history and dignity dictate. There is no justification for this. None of the arguments of caution or fear changes the fact that we must stand with dignity, at least in words, where our conscience and our Georgianness demand it!
The government sins when, at this turning point, it did not present before Europe this historic declaration of our country as backed by joint signatures as a sign of national consolidation and as the first step of national accord, but chose to lock itself in and sign it alone.
The government sins when party is given preference over state institutions over decision-making or publicity. When key decisions between government agencies are not considered jointly and information is not shared. How can one believe that in such a difficult and watchful circumstance the Security Council had not met even once, never have military threats been jointly discussed in the presence of the Supreme Commander-in-Chief. These machinations must be corrected immediately!
The opposition sins when it has attempts in Brussels, Kyiv or the United States to tarnish Georgia's name and face and portray the country in such a way that we prefer fear to dignity! As if we are not worthy of either joining the European Union or partnering with NATO and the United States. Or even worse, when it claims that the government - and therefore the country - has changed its pro-Western course! It is an insult to the country and to your people when you accuse your country so much in Washington and your own country has to defend itself from you. Such politically motivated attack not only harms the government, but also the country and bids the work of the enemy.
The opposition sins when it insults the police and police officers. The Police is an institution with a special responsibility for the stability and security of the country. Especially during this extremely tense period. Respect and support for them is incumbent on everyone, especially those chosen by the people. How is this time for ketchup and flour? It is a shame!
The opposition sins when it calls for radical measures and seeks to overthrow the government, that is, to use its current international situation to achieve its own political agenda. In one shot, it puts the country in a deadlock and maybe in danger, without seeking responsibility for it. It verbally appeals to unity while seeking to win political points through provocations.
However, I agree with both. With the government on the need for some caution and with the opposition on the need for courage.
Therefore, I do not and will not go into the assessment of individual statements or actions of the government that relate to the war in Ukraine and our security. Such discussions should take place in a closed but inclusive format, involving everyone, listening and exchanging opinions, and then everyone should take joint responsibility for the decisions made. The government is responsible for creating this format.
Therefore, I do not and will not go into analyzing the actions of individuals who are deliberately manipulating and trying to sow misunderstanding, resentment, disagreement and inspire any rift between two friendly countries during this difficult time. It is clear to everyone and our partners are well aware that any disagreement between Ukraine and Georgia is favorable for Russia and only for Russia.
I do not and will not go into the discussion of the issue of pardoning Saakashvili, where it should be coming from, because the answer has already been given once. The resurgence of this matter at the time of the war in Ukraine only provokes internal polarization.
Once again, even an attempt to bring any misunderstanding between us and Ukraine is unacceptable. I will not allow this. Therefore, just like last year, on April 9, during my address to Parliament, I appealed to the Government of Georgia to return our Ambassador to Ukraine. Also, today from here, from this rostrum, I address my colleague and friend, the President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, and ask him to return the ambassador so that the connection between the two nations, in these difficult moments, can be fully strengthened, closer and more unwaveringly.
In this difficult time, let us open our eyes at least today and understand what is happening to us. Let us all come to our senses, let's get into this new time together and show to the country the direction and the path!
Let’s correct what hinders us on the path to progress and success. Unity is our only solution. This unity begins with the President, as according to the Constitution, the President guarantees unity.
Therefore, it is absurd when you accuse the President of dividing society when she appeared on Rustaveli Avenue to represent the whole of Georgia! To represent all those who did not come because of political reasons and those who simply could not come. At the same time, the President presented herself on Rustaveli Avenue as the host of the President of a friendly country, as Georgian manners require! This is not a division, this is the first expression of national accord! Those who do not understand this do not understand the voice of the nation. If not the politicians, the public understood all of it perfectly.
And it is time for everyone to understand that the president does not belong to any political force and will not belong to another. She fulfills only the promise made at the inauguration: "I take responsibility with the authority granted by the Constitution, to be the president of all, the president of all Georgian citizens."
The institution of the President is not just about respect, it is necessary to cooperate with it, especially during this difficult period. The war in Ukraine, the new approaches of the EU, Georgia's place in the light of these changes, threats and preparedness ... These are topics that should and would be discussed in any country, not only within the government, but also between the government and the president, between the majority in parliament and various opposition.
Therefore, two weeks ago, I signed a special session of parliament to discuss Ukraine. Therefore, I requested that the Security Council be held in an expanded format.
I therefore appealed to Parliament to schedule my speech on 5 March, shortly after my return from Europe. None of the calls were shared, no extraordinary meeting was scheduled, nor extended Security Council, and finally, the date required for the annual speech was not met.
It is incomprehensible at this time, when the need is highest and time is running out, the restrictions imposed on the President's international activities.
On February 26, 2022, I was refused in written manner to pay working visits to Paris, Brussels, Berlin and Warsaw. Given the current situation, I have canceled all official formats. At such times I found it necessary to use my personal contacts and turn working visits into personal meetings. I think that this approach and such restrictions are harmful for our country, which is in such a difficult region. There is no time for restrictions, on the contrary, whatever we can, at the international level, we should be involved as much as possible, we should not give rest to our partners! I even think that my forty years of experience in diplomacy and strategic affairs, and the personal contacts acquired during this period, are more useful to this country than to lose.
Today we are faced with two issues that force us to act together: that is, the issue of new EU membership and the issues of support for Ukraine and the problems created around it.
My visit to Europe has convinced me that there is a new real and genuine chance of joining the European Union, a real readiness on the part of our partners. In this context, it was necessary and I tried my best, through personal meetings and through international media appearances to establish Georgia's place in these processes, so for them not to be tempted to either forget Georgia or consider it in a different light than Ukraine or Moldova.
Now it is heard from all sides: What shall we do? How do we increase our chances? When and how?
My answer is: Unity! Unity and unity!
There should be no division and separate running to our partners! It is necessary to prepare and present the united plan for the national accord, which will not be a subject to the annulment! President, Prime Minister, Government and the Parliament, all political parties, media, non-governmental organizations, ordinary citizens – all of us should be united and act around one plan and one purpose. We should be working on the package of reforms the execution of which will be mandatory if we seriously see out future in Europe. This will be the real illustration of the national accord, without which, so far none of the countries have integrated in the EU.
Similarly, our approach toward the war in Ukraine should be consolidated. It’s not permissible for anyone, whether a friend or an enemy, to doubt that we cannot agree on such an existential question of existence. I’m convinced that the society thinks more sensibly and its consolidation is possible. It’s not permissible that the country that historically is an exemplary heir to the wars of independence and those of injustice not to stand with Ukraine. It is also clear that as the representative of the US State Department has noticed himself, it not permissible for anyone not to understand the extraordinary conditions that the country, with 20% of the territories occupied with the occupation line located in 40km from the capital, is in.
Our path is one: of principle, but intelligible, neither the provocation of the confrontation, not of advance concession and vague politics of the extreme caution. If this line becomes that of our union, in this framework, it will be easier to discuss our sentimental questions, sanctions etc.
On the one side, ccautiousness is necessary, because of the occupation, regional challenges and country’s economic capabilities. On the other side requires us to behave as suitable to Ukraine’s friend and member of international community. The question of Russian citizens entering the country is a sensitive one, which should not become subject of our division, cause of a reputation damage and that of panic. Here too, we have to maintain balanced position. In this regard, those official statements that appellate on the dangers of ethic discrimination in Georgia are harmful. Instead, the Government is obliged to provide the society with exact and timely information, and convince it that civil order is ensured both on the border and in the country.
I would like to address the government and the opposition party representatives: in these hardest times all means should be used to achieve the united position: on the side, the question of EU integration and on the other side – Ukraine. It should be achieved in a way that none of the questions are used for narrow, political interests. I welcome Prime Minister’s statement regarding EU integration. I welcome the resolution that the parliament is working on and I call on this resolution to be adopted unanimously. I have also familiarizes myself with the statements of several NGOs, societies’ petitions and initiatives that I also welcome.
I offer for all these beginnings to be united and for everyone to sign one document, which will be our application’s support and the sign of our full consolidation, and for it to be sent to European Union in one package on behalf of Georgia.
I offer an immediate creation of the position of the EU Integration State Minister and its department, which can be selected from the opposition. He/She will conduct coordination for the integration requirements to be promptly executed, as in the case of other candidate countries.
I call on Government to create extended or other format of the National Security Council with the participation of the opposition, where all the sentimental questions will be discussed. Here too, I would like to once again call on you to announce moratorium on the hate speech in this hardest period.
Lastly, I address the people – I want to thank you for all the private solidarity initiatives, with which you have expressed the support for Ukraine.
Also, on behalf of the Georgian living Ukraine and my own, I would like to thank the employees of the Embassy and the Consulate in Kyiv, Odessa and Lviv, for their personal and tireless devotion.
I want to tell you that hard period is waiting for us, hard economic and social circumstances, just like the whole world. This is our contributing part, at a time when our Ukrainian brothers with their blood and fight are defending the freedom and independence, and open the doors for a new future.
I want you to know, I will try everything, with the Government and the opposition to together find the means of cooperation and unity. To stand up to the threats together and together to find the keys of all the new doors. You too have to contribute, to fulfill your obligation and to bring National Accord to reality. This is the real cornerstone of the country, which will allow us to endure and do everything.
Glory to Ukraine! Glory to Heroes! Long live Georgia"!
Statement by the President of Georgia - Today we are all grateful to Ukraine, which is fighting for our freedom!Wednesday, 02 March 2022 14:19
The dignity of Georgia has always been and still is that we have always stood by our principles and have stood, where Georgia should have!
No one expects us to take measures that would endanger the country, however, everyone expects solidarity from us – you are expecting it, so am I. This is why I am in Paris today and will be visiting Brussels tomorrow – to express Georgian solidarity to Ukraine.
At a time, when all of Europe is united, we too have to become part of this unity. Today, a new window opens, where Europeans are ready to look differently at the future of Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova. We have to be here and want everyone to remember (and this is why I am here) that Georgia, like Ukraine, is one of those countries that tomorrow will be part of Europe, of the Europe that today has showed its dignity with its unity and its active support for Ukraine.
Today, we are all grateful to Ukraine that is fighting for our freedom and we don’t want a different image of Georgia on the international arena.
We are the country that has historically always been faithful to its principles.
Statement by the President of Georgia
The process of national accord initiated by the President is a complex and difficult process that is both open and transparent and in no way secretive. In recent days, various information has been spread, the source of which is not the Administration of the President.
At the beginning stage of the national accord process, the President is listening to everyone and holding meetings and is interested in the views, initiatives and positions of various societal groups, all of which are part of the greater national accord process.
It should be noted that not only political parties but also the public at large, including representatives of non-governmental organizations working on victims’ issues, are involved in this process.
The President has already held meetings with the Catholicos-Patriarch of All Georgia, former President Giorgi Margvelashvili and representatives of political parties. The process continues and the President continues to hold active meetings.
The U.S. Embassy was proud to support the USA Water Polo men’s team in their game against Georgia - the ever-gracious tournament host. While the U.S. and Georgia are close strategic partners, in the sports arena the competition was fierce and we congratulate the American team on its hard fought victory.
US Ambassador Kelly Degnan and President Zourabichvili attended the game to cheer on the players and presented awards to the most valuable player from each side. Ambassador Degnan awarded Max Irving MVP from the U.S. team. The Embassy wishes both teams success in the tournament ahead.
Statement by the US Embassy in Tbilisi
Georgian and Lithuanian Presidents have signed the Joint Declaration in support for Georgia’s sovereignty, territorial integrity, European and Euro-Atlantic integrationMonday, 14 June 2021 14:48
On 11 June 2021, Presidents of Georgia and the Republic of Lithuania, Salome Zurabishvili and Gitanas Nauseda, signed the Joint Declaration in support for Georgia’s sovereignty, territorial integrity, European and Euro-Atlantic integration.
In the document the Presidents acknowledged the special relationship between Georgia and the Republic of Lithuania, stressed the necessity of de-occupation of the Georgian regions of Abkhazia and Tskhinvali region/South Ossetia and implementation of the EU-mediated 12 August 2008 Ceasefire Agreement by the Russian Federation, emphasized the necessity of peaceful resolution of Russia-Georgia conflict based on the fundamental principles of international law, stressing the necessity of safe and dignified return of IDPs and refugees, expelled as a result of ethnic cleansing to their homes.
The Georgian political parties signed A way ahead for Georgia, a compromise document submitted to the parties by the European Council President Charles Michel, at the Orbeliani Palace on April 19.
Davit Bakradze, Aleko Elisashvili, Badri Japaridze, Zurab Japaridze, Mamuka Khazaradze, Vakhtang Megrelishvili, Shalva Papuashvili, Salome Samadashvili, Khatuna Samnidze, Archil Talakvadze, and Giorgi Vashadze have signed the document.
Khatuna Samnidze, Davit Bakradze and Salome Samadashvili have made signatures individually, as the bloc National Movement – Strength in Unity and the European Georgia party did not join the compromise paper.
The EU and US Ambassadors Carl Hartzell and Kelly Degnan attended the signing ceremony. European Council President Charles Michel joined the event virtually.
President Michel presented a new document to the political parties on April 18. According to a new document, if the ruling party wins less than 43 per cent of electoral support in local polls, early parliamentary elections will be called in 2022.
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 President of the Republic of Armenia, Armen Sarkissian, arrived today in the Georgian capital Tbilisi with an official visit.
Georgian presidential administration reports that Foreign Minister Davit Zalkaliani, Head of Presidential Administration Natia Sulava, and Georgian Ambassador to Armenia Giorgi Saganelidze welcomed Armenian President at the Tbilisi International Airport.
The official welcoming ceremony of Armenian President Armen Sarkissian and his spouse Nune Sarkissian will be held at the Orbeliani Palace.
Georgian and Armenian Presidents will have face-to-face and expanded meetings and make a joint statement for the media. Georgian Parliament Speaker Archil Talakvadze will also meet the Armenian President.
Armen Sarkissian plans to tour the Armenian Cathedral within the framework of his official visit.
The President of the Republic of Armenia, Armen Sarkissian, will pay an official visit to Georgia tomorrow, on April 15, Georgian presidential administration reports.
The official welcoming ceremony of Armenian President Armen Sarkissian and his spouse Nune Sarkissian will be held at the Orbeliani Palace.
Georgian president Salome Zurabishvili and Armenian President will have face-to-face and expanded meetings and make a joint statement for the media. Georgian Parliament Speaker Archil Talakvadze will also meet the Armenian President.
Armen Sarkissian plans to tour the Armenian Cathedral within the framework of his official visit.
On September 24, 2020, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Azerbaijan Jeyhun Bayramov met with President of Georgia Salome Zurabishvili in the framework of his official visit to Georgia.
Georgian President Salome Zurabishvili congratulated Minister Jeyhun Bayramov on his appointment as the Foreign Minister and conveyed her sincere wishes to him. She also expressed hope that steps will be taken towards further strengthening relations between the two countries during his tenure. President Salome Zurabishvili requested to convey her sincere greetings to the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan.
In his turn, Minister Jeyhun Bayramov conveyed the greetings of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan to the President of Georgia.
The Minister noted that very useful discussions on high-level cooperation between the two countries were held during the visit. It was stated that the two countries attach equal importance to the development of relations in all three areas - political, economic and humanitarian.
Touching upon the existing protracted conflicts in the region, which poses a serious threat to regional security, the sides noted that they have a similar position in resolving these conflicts. It was stressed that our countries respect each other's sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity.
It was stressed that along with bilateral formats, our countries are successfully cooperating on multilateral formats, within international organizations as well.
Economic, energy and transport projects implemented with the participation of both countries were discussed. The sides exchanged views on further expanding the capacity of regional corridors. The sides also discussed issues of cooperation in tourism, humanitarian and cultural fields.
The Georgian President stressed the importance of ensuring peace and stability in the region.
In his turn, Minister Jeyhun Bayramov drew attention to Armenia's aggression policy and its grave consequences and informed the President of Georgia about the latest provocative activities of the Armenian leadership. The importance of resolving the conflict within the framework of the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan was emphasized.
The necessity for solidarity and cooperation between the states in the current situation on combating the pandemic was noted, and it was stressed that there is a high level of coordination and cooperation between the two countries in this regard.
At the end of the meeting, President Salome Zurabishvili invited the President and First Vice-President of the Republic of Azerbaijan to visit Georgia.
The sides also exchanged views on other issues of mutual interest.