Marathon under “Agile Spirit 2016” Held in Akhaltsikhe
Marathon in the framework of the multinational exercise “Agile Spirit 2016” was held in Akhaltsikhe. Except for the participants of the multinational exercise of GAF, the U.S., Bulgaria, Romania and Ukraine, five military personnel, wounded in international missions and in fights for the territorial integrity of Georgia were involved in the race as well.
The sport event was dedicated to the memory of the Georgian military personnel fallen for the territorial integrity of Georgia and in international missions. The race started from the territory of Orpolo firing-ground and finished at the Bridge named after Sergeant Anzor Geldiashvili who died in the August War in 2008.
The military exercise is conducted by the General Staff of the Georgian Armed Forces and the U.S. Marines. Agile Spirit 2016 included CPX and field exercises. The exercise officially closed on September 9 at the Orpolo firing range.
MEETING OF THE FOREIGN MINISTERS OF TURKMENISTAN AND ROMANIA
On October 23, 2023, in the framework of participation in the 19th ministerial meeting “Central Asia - European Union”, bilateral negotiations were held between the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkmenistan Rashid Meredov and the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Romania Luminita Odobescu.
At the beginning of the conversation, L.Odobescu emphasized the role of Central Asia as a key partner of Romania. It was noted that the country acts as a link that strengthens cooperation between the Central Asian region and the EU. Turkmenistan was named one of Romania’s priority partners in the region.
Considering the political and diplomatic aspects of interaction, R.Meredov drew attention to the history of bilateral relations. The importance of the first visit of the President of Turkmenistan to Romania in 2008 was emphasized, which laid the foundation for further cooperation.
The parties recognized the importance of mutual support in the international space. In particular, the Turkmen side expressed gratitude to Romania for its support in the adoption of resolutions of the UN General Assembly initiated by Turkmenistan.
In the field of trade and economic cooperation, the main attention was paid to the potential of joint projects, including the fields of transport and energy. In this context, the parties especially noted cooperation within the framework of the Working Group on Energy. The importance of the Caspian Sea - Black Sea transport corridor was emphasized.
The parties confirmed their interest in continuing cooperation in the field of digitalization.
During the conversation, issues of humanitarian cooperation were discussed. Particular attention is paid to issues of interaction in the field of education, as well as exchange programs in this direction. Currently, about 300 Turkmen students are studying in Romania. The commitment to partnership in this direction was reinforced by the Cooperation Program signed in 2023 between the ministries of education of both countries. In addition, the Turkmen side confirmed the importance of short-term diplomatic training for young diplomats at the Nicolae Titulescu University.
Concluding the meeting, the ministers signed an Action Plan for 2024-2025 between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Turkmenistan and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Romania. This document is an expression of common aspirations to further strengthen interaction between the foreign ministries of the two countries.
Ukrainian House Opens Its Doors in Tbilisi!
UNDP and Germany promote social integration of Ukrainian nationals living in Georgia
TBILISI. 13 September 2023 — The newly inaugurated Ukrainian House in Tbilisi marks a significant milestone in enhancing support for Ukrainian nationals living in Georgia. The initiative is spearheaded by the Ukrainian community organization “Georgian-Ukrainian Platform” with support from the Government of Germany through the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
The Ukrainian House stands as a symbol of unity and collaboration, committed to supporting Ukrainian nationals who sought refuge in Georgia amidst the devastating war that inflicts unmeasurable suffering upon the Ukrainian people and has profound global repercussions.
This multifunctional space, situated in the heart of Tbilisi, will address the needs of Ukrainian non-governmental organizations and volunteer groups committed to assisting Ukrainian beneficiaries in Georgia. The Ukrainian House will serve as both a communal hub, an operational office space, and a referral point for various socio-economic services tailored for Ukrainian nationals.
In addition to its core mission, the Ukrainian House will be a focal point for cultural exchange. Its dynamic calendar of events will cater to both adults and children, fostering integration and enhancing the growth of Georgian-Ukrainian relations.
The Ukrainian House officially opened its doors on 13 September 2023, during a ceremony attended by Tanja Hutt, Deputy Head of Mission, German Embassy in Georgia; Oleksandr Shulha, charge d'affaires of Ukraine in Georgia; Anna Chernyshova, UNDP Resident Representative a.i. in Georgia, Valentina Marjanishvili, Head of the Georgian-Ukrainian Platform, and members of the Ukrainian community in Georgia.
“Germany is proud to contribute to the establishment of the Ukrainian House in Tbilisi. We are confident that this vibrant space will offer support to various Ukrainian community groups in Georgia, while actively fostering social integration," said Tanja Hutt, Deputy Head of Mission at the German Embassy in Georgia.
“Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine has led to the largest refugee crisis since the Second World War. Nearly one-third of the Ukrainian population was forced to flee their homes, including more than half of all Ukrainian children. Around 25,000 found shelter, security, and hope in Georgia, and UNDP, with the generous support of Germany, is committed to assisting them. We're establishing a community space for Ukrainian civil society organizations, providing grants to entrepreneurs, and offering vital support for employment, recovery, and integration,” said Anna Chernyshova, UNDP Resident Representative a.i. in Georgia.
"The establishment of the Ukrainian House reflects the close ties between Georgia and Ukraine. This space will offer practical assistance to Ukrainians living in Georgia and will foster connections and nurture talents within our community through cultural and educational events," noted Valentina Marjanishvili, Head of the Georgian-Ukrainian Platform.
The establishment of the Ukrainian House in Tbilisi is part of UNDP’s broader efforts, funded by the Government of Germany, to support refugees and Ukrainian nationals living in Georgia. ln partnership with CARE Caucasus, UNDP boosts economic recovery and income generation for refugees and Ukrainian nationals by creating a grants programme for entrepreneurs and providing business training, employment advice, and job-matching services within Georgia's private sector.
European Commission releases €1.5 billion in macro-financial assistance to Ukraine
Today the European Union is providing another €1.5 billion to Ukraine under its annual macro-financial assistance package.
The European Commission made today a third payment of €1.5 billion under the Macro-financial Assistance (MFA)+ package for Ukraine, worth up to €18 billion.
This support will help Ukraine cover its immediate financial needs: to continue paying salaries and pensions and to maintain basic public services such as hospitals, schools and housing for the displaced. It will also allow Ukraine to ensure macroeconomic stability and restore critical infrastructure destroyed by Russia in its war of aggression, such as energy infrastructure, water systems, transport networks, roads and bridges.
Today’s payment comes after the Commission found that Ukraine continued to make satisfactory progress to strengthen the rule of law, enhance financial stability, improve the functioning of the gas system and promote a better business climate.
This finding will also enable the disbursement of two further monthly payments of €1.5 billion each in May and June.
Overall, since the start of the war, the support to Ukraine and Ukrainians amounts to around €68 billion.
“We will continue helping Ukraine resist Russia’s aggression, keep its institutions and infrastructure running, and conduct crucial reforms,” President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen wrote on Twitter.
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SHALVA PAPUASHVILI - PRESENTLY, IT IS NOT OPPORTUNE TO DISCUSS THE OPEN-DOOR POLICY, WE NEED CONCRETE SOLUTIONS
"It was a significant opportunity for us to participate in the conference alongside the Speakers of the parliaments of the European Union member states. The central theme of the conference was Russia's aggression against Ukraine. During my speech, I was able to reiterate our unwavering solidarity with Ukraine", - Shalva Papuashvili stated while summarizing the conference of the Speakers of the Parliaments of the EU member and partner countries (EUSC).
As he mentioned, it is time to make a decision regarding Georgia and it is important that the European Union takes a more serious look at its own role and enlargement policy.
As the Speaker of the Parliament stated, today is not the time to talk at the open door and it is important for the European Union to make a decision to grant Georgia the status of the European Union.
"Given the prevailing geopolitical scenario, it is crucial for the European Union to take a more serious view of its role in the South Caucasus region. It is time to take a decision regarding Georgia, and it is imperative to understand and make this decision from this perspective. Presently, it is not opportune to discuss the open-door policy, but rather focus on progress. We need concrete solutions that the Georgian people are eagerly anticipating.
Last year, by not being granted candidate status, we were somewhat separated from the association trio. However, it was later confirmed that we continue to lead the way. Therefore, it is crucial that this situation be rectified, and Georgia is once again restored to its former position, alongside Moldova and Ukraine by the end of the year", - Shalva Papuashvili stated.
European Peace Facility: Council increases the financial ceiling to nearly €7.98 billion until 2027
The Council adopted a decision increasing the financial ceiling of the European Peace Facility (EPF) to €7.979 billion (in current prices) until 2027, ensuring that additional financial needs can be covered.
The European Peace Facility has now become an integral part of the EU’s support to promote peace and security globally. Today’s decision brings the financial ceiling of the European Peace Facility to over €7.9 billion. Ensuring the financial sustainability of this instrument is crucial for our support not only to Ukraine, but also for our partners in other parts of Europe, Africa and the Middle East, as needs continue to arise.
This decision implements the political agreement reached on 12 December 2022, when the Council decided to increase the overall EPF financial ceiling by €2 billion (in 2018 prices) in 2023, and allow for the possibility of a further increase at a later stage (up to €5.5 billion in 2018 prices until 2027).
The Council also decided to set a financial reference amount for the common costs of the EU Crisis Management Military Exercise 2023 (MILEX 23) at €5 million and introduce more flexibility in the collection and use of financial contributions from member states and in their use by the facility.
In its conclusions of 15 December 2022, the European Council reiterated the global dimension of the Facility and welcomed the agreement in the Council on 12 December 2022 to ensure its financial sustainability.
Background and next steps
The European Peace Facility was established in March 2021 to finance all common foreign and security policy (CFSP) actions relating to military and defence matters, with the aim of preventing conflict, preserving peace, and strengthening international security and stability. In particular, the European Peace Facility allows the EU to finance actions designed to strengthen the capacities of non-EU countries and regional and international organisations in relation to military and defence matters.
The EPF is an off-budget instrument and originally had an overall financial ceiling of €5 billion in 2018 prices for the period 2021-2027, with annual ceilings that ranged from €420 million in 2021 to €1.132 billion in 2027.
Thanks to the EPF, the EU has been supporting the Ukrainian Armed Forces through seven successive support packages so far, as well as many other countries such as: Mozambique, Georgia, the Republic of Moldova, the Republic of Mali, Somalia, Niger, Jordan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Lebanon and Mauritania, as well as military components of African-led Peace Support Operations and multinational units such as the Balkan Medical Task Force.