Joint statement of the Group of Friends of Georgia 10 years since the Russian military invasion of Georgia

Published in World
Wednesday, 08 August 2018 13:00

This statement is made on behalf of Canada, Czech Republic, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Sweden, Ukraine, the United Kingdom, the United States of America.

We reaffirm our full support for Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognized borders.

Ten years since the Russian military invasion of Georgia, we remain deeply concerned over the continued occupation of Georgian territories and underline the need for the peaceful resolution of the conflict, based on full respect for the UN Charter, the Helsinki Final Act, and the fundamental norms and principles of international law.

We urge the Russian Federation to reverse its recognition of the so-called independence of Georgia’s Abkhazia and South Ossetia regions.

In the ten years since the August 2008 war, Georgia has made progress in strengthening democracy and good governance, as well as in the process of European and Euro-Atlantic integration and economic development. It is disappointing that these benefits cannot be enjoyed by the residents of Georgia’s Abkhazia and South Ossetia regions. We believe a peaceful resolution of the Russia-Georgia conflict would have a transformative effect not only on Georgia but on the region as a whole.

We support the Geneva International Discussions (GID) as an important format to address the security, human rights, and humanitarian challenges stemming from the unresolved conflict.

Ten years after the establishment of the GID, we regret the lack of progress on the core issues of the discussions, including the non-use of force, establishing international security arrangements in Georgia’s Abkhazia and South Ossetia regions aimed at providing security and stability on the ground, and ensuring the safe and dignified return of Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) and refugees.

We call upon the Russian Federation to fully implement the EU-mediated 12 August 2008 Ceasefire Agreement, inter alia to withdraw its forces from the occupied territories of Georgia.

We support the Incident Prevention and Response Mechanisms (IPRMs) in Gali and Ergneti and encourage the participants to find proper solutions for the safety and humanitarian needs of the conflict-affected population.

We condemn the conclusion of the so-called integration and alliance treaties by the Russian Federation with Georgia’s Abkhazia and South Ossetia regions, which constitutes a clear violation of the principles of international law by the Russian Federation and directly contradicts OSCE commitments.

We express our deep concern over the increase of Russian military exercises and its further military build-up in Georgia’s Abkhazia and South Ossetia regions.

We condemn the gross violations of rights related to freedom of movement and residence and to property, as well as the restriction of education in one’s native language. We underline that the so-called borderization through placement of artificial obstacles and fortifying the occupation line with barbed and razor wire fences, as well as closures of socalled crossing points, further aggravates the humanitarian situation on the ground.

We condemn the killing of Georgian IDPs Archil Tatunashvili, Giga Otkhozoria, and Davit Basharuli, and urge the Russian Federation, as the state exercising effective control over Abkhazia and South Ossetia, to remove any obstacles to bringing the perpetrators to justice.

In this context, we support preventive steps by Georgia aimed at eradication of the sense of impunity and aggravation of human rights in Georgia’s occupied regions, and we note the adoption of the Decree of the Government of Georgia on approval of the Otkhozoria-Tatunashvili list based on the relevant Resolution of the Parliament of Georgia.

We remain deeply concerned over the ethnic discrimination in Georgia’s Abkhazia and South Ossetia regions and the mass destruction of houses of Georgian IDPs, illustrations of Russia’s purposeful policy aimed at completely erasing the traces of ethnic Georgian population and cultural heritage in the occupied regions.

We support the voluntary return of IDPs and refugees to the places of their origin in safety and dignity.

We call upon the Russian Federation to enable access by international human rights monitoring mechanisms to the occupied territories of Georgia.

We commend the efficient work and contribution of the EU Monitoring Mission (EUMM) to prevent the escalation of tensions on the ground and call upon the Russian Federation to allow the EUMM to fully implement its mandate and enable the mission’s access to Georgia’s Abkhazia and South Ossetia regions.

We welcome Georgia’s compliance with the EU-mediated 12 August 2008 Ceasefire Agreement and its unilateral commitment not to use force, and call on the Russian Federation to reciprocate, to affirm and implement a commitment not to use force against Georgia.

We support the new peace initiative of the Government of Georgia, ‘A Step to a Better Future’, aimed at improving the humanitarian and socio-economic conditions of people residing in Georgia’s Abkhazia and South Ossetia regions and fostering people-to-people contact and confidence building between divided communities to the benefit of all people.

We encourage the OSCE’s engagement in the process of finding a peaceful resolution to the Russia-Georgia conflict and support the implementation of confidence-building measures with an aim to rebuild trust and improve the living conditions of the conflict-affected communities.

We regret the closure of the OSCE mission to Georgia in 2009.

We encourage the OSCE participating States to agree on the opening of the OSCE cross-dimensional mission in Georgia for the benefit of the conflict-affected population, including a monitoring capacity able to operate unhindered across the occupation line. The mission will considerably strengthen the OSCE’s engagement in the GID and IPRMs, as well as in implementation of confidence-building measures.

The friends will continue to raise awareness of the conflict and the need for its peaceful resolution.

Joint statement of the Group of Friends of Georgia 10 years since the Russian military invasion of Georgia

The Georgian-American celebration of Thanksgiving Day

Published in Society
Tuesday, 12 December 2017 16:44

At the Georgian-American celebration of Thanksgiving Day, the king of alternative music of the 80s, Lado Burduli has given great pleasure to the guests and the hosts of the event.

It is known that "Thanksgiving Day is a historic holiday that is celebrated mostly on the last Thursday of November. It is important to note that the Day of Thanksgiving is considered to be a public celebration in America and to express the gratitude towards God from Christians as well as from Muslims and Jews. On the Thanksgiving Day, all the family members and friends gather at the table and enjoy the traditional food.

By an initiative of American Friends Club, Thanksgiving Day has acquired traditional character and this year it was again celebrated in a friendly environment. This year the host of the celebration was a restaurant, “Apartment 37”. The event was attended by the representatives of diplomatic corps accredited in Georgia, international organizations and representatives of the society. The guests were invited to the table full of traditional Georgian and American dishes and Georgian wine varieties.

Prior to the commencement of the event, the guests were welcomed by the President of the American Friends Club Ilia Zukakishvili, sports legendary commentator Jamlet Khukhashvili and the owner of the “Apartment 37”, Zura Natroshvili.

First of all I would like to thank each of you that you found time and today we are celebrating this amazing event together. I would also like to thank the host of today's event, grown up in a traditional family, who is a doctor and now is a successful wine-maker too, Mr. Zura Natroshvili and his “Apartment 37”. The place where we gathered today is distinguished by Tbilisi hospitality and friendly  atmosphere. Besides its uniqueness lies in the fact that it is located on the eighth floor of one of the residential buildings of Tbilisi central district and is famous for its” Kvevri” wine in the wine cellar, which always surprises guests. I am absolutely sure that after tomorrow the apartment 37 will become a special place for you all said the president of the American Friends Club Ilia Zukakishvili.

I think that's exactly why the American Friendship Club decided to celebrate American Thanksgiving Day with friends at Apartment 37. I can’t say that the American Thanksgiving Day was held exactly the same way as in the United States, but we did our best to make this celebration unforgettable for our guests. ”The guest is sent from God” and holidays are for people to enjoy each other’s company and share love. Happy Thanksgiving Day once again for you all! You will always be welcomed at “Apartment 37“, at Mgaloblishvili St. 5A, beside Zvania (former Gagarin) Square where you will enjoy the unique combination of delicious dishes of the highest quality, said Zura Natroshvili, the owner of the “Apartment 37”.  It should be noted that at the Georgian American Thanksgiving Day, all the guests and hosts had a  pleasure to enjoy  the compositions performed by the King of Georgian alternative music of 80s, by the talented artist and singer Lado Burduli.  

Georgian American Thanksgiving Day Partners were: Aviation Company “Georgian Airways”, Company “ KVG”, English-language daily newspaper “The Messenger”, Informational agency “Front News” and informational agency “Newsday Georgia”.  

By: Natela Tugushi  

mVisa to Expand to 10 Countries

Published in World
Monday, 13 March 2017 18:38
Visa partners with industry to develop QR standard for safe and easy mobile payments MOBILE WORLD CONGRESS – Barcelona, Spain and San Francisco, CA – February 27, 2017 – Visa (NYSE:V), announced that mVisa, its QR-based payment service, now live in India, Kenya and Rwanda, will soon be available to merchants and consumers in Egypt, Ghana, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Nigeria, Pakistan and Vietnam. mVisa, a mobile solution, brings the benefits of easy and secure digital commerce to financial institutions, merchants and consumers in emerging markets - helping accelerate the global migration from cash to electronic payments. mVisa aids in overcoming merchant infrastructure issues as it allows consumers to use their mobile phones to make cashless purchases at merchant outlets, pay bills remotely and even send money to friends and family members by securely linking their Visa debit, credit or prepaid account to the mVisa application. It digitizes the underlying account and allows consumers to transfer funds from their account to the retailer’s account reliably and securely by scanning a QR code. “Customers have told us they appreciate how fast and easy it is to use mVisa ,” said Uttam Nayak, senior vice president of digital for emerging markets, Visa Inc. “Small merchants using mVisa, for the first time, are most excited about how quickly and securely they receive electronic payments, without having to invest into expensive point of sale (POS) infrastructure. We are excited to continue to build momentum around mVisa to digitize payments with a scalable, interoperable and secure solution that benefits merchants, financial institutions and consumers.” mVisa Merchant Benefits mVisa is an agile solution that allows merchants around the world to immediately accept digital payments from their customers. The flexible nature of QR codes, and the fact that merchants do not need to invest in POS infrastructure, has allowed Visa and its partners to offer inventive solutions that eliminate friction for consumers who want and need to pay for goods and services around the world. For example: • Visa worked with Tata Sky, India’s leading direct-to-home service provider, to allow Tata Sky subscribers to recharge their account by scanning the QR code through their mobile phones directly from the TV screen or online on mytatasky.com. Tata Sky customers can now order and pay for any monthly or one-time payment services exactly when they require the services, without having to go to a Tata Sky outlet to complete their transaction. • Mahanagar Gas Limited, a utility provider in Mumbai, issues customer bills printed with the mVisa QR code. Customers simply scan the QR code on the bill, as they would at a merchant outlet, and complete their transaction in the comfort of their own home. The mVisa APIs and SDKs are available on the Visa Developer Platform to help simplify the integration process and allow both traditional and non-traditional players to launch new solutions more quickly. Industry Standards Interoperability is at the foundation of Visa and has been the driving force behind Visa’s global acceptance for more than 50 years. mVisa operates on the same foundation, as any bank’s mVisa customer – regardless of where they bank - can transact on any mVisa merchant. The benefits of this low cost acceptance solution was also the reason behind why Visa worked with industry partners to launch BharatQR in February this year. BharatQR is India’s – and the world’s – first standardized QR code payment solution. The solution builds on mVisa’s product standards, and consumers do not need to scan different QR codes at the same merchant provided by the different payment networks. Merchants only need to display one QR code at the storefront or through the acquiring bank’s mobile application. The underlying specification for BharatQR can be implemented in other countries to deliver a globally interoperable solution.   About Visa Inc.: Visa Inc. (NYSE:V) is a global payments technology company that connects consumers, businesses, financial institutions, and governments in more than 200 countries and territories to fast, secure and reliable electronic payments. We operate one of the world's most advanced processing networks — VisaNet — that is capable of handling more than 65,000 transaction messages a second, with fraud protection for consumers and assured payment for merchants. Visa is not a bank and does not issue cards, extend credit or set rates and fees for consumers. Visa's innovations, however, enable its financial institution customers to offer consumers more choices: pay now with debit, pay ahead of time with prepaid or pay later with credit products . For more information, visit: www.corporate.visa.com, www.visa.com.ge , https://www.facebook.com/VisaGeorgiaGE, Visa CISSEE Newsroom.

Serzh Sargsyan didn’t meet with the representatives of occupation regime

Published in Politics
Friday, 02 September 2016 17:16

According to the Armenian side, the President of Armenia Serzh Sargsyan didn’t meet with the representatives of occupation regime. This statement was made by the Deputy Foreign Minister Gigi Gigiadze. As he noted, media published the information about possible meetings today morning. 
“Armenia is a friend country of Georgia. It recognizes the sovereignty of Georgia and its territorial unite. We continue cooperation with official Yerevan,”-Gigi Gigiadze said.

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