Bulgarian Ambassador to Georgia has handed to David Zalkaliani the congratulation letter of the Bulgarian Foreign Minister
Georgian Foreign Minister David Zalkaliani held his first meeting with Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Bulgaria to Georgia Dessislava Ivanova. The Ambassador handed to David Zalkaliani the congratulation letter of the Bulgarian Foreign Minister Ekaterina Zaharieva.
The sides discussed the friendly relations and partnership between the two countries, including within the framework of international organizations. Special attention was paid to the need of exchanging high-level visits and activating sectoral co-operation.
Special mention was made of the potential of developing economic relations, especially in the areas of transport and energy. The sides exchanged views over the ongoing co-operation in the tourism sector and the importance of establishing direct flights that will bring closer the two countries and will encourage people-to-people contacts.
David Zalkaliani congratulated Bulgaria on the successful completion of the term of presidency of the EU Council and expressed his gratitude for the firm support for Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, as well as for its European and Euro-Atlantic integration path.
Discussing the situation in Georgia’s occupied Abkhazia and Tskhinvali regions, David Zalkaliani highlighted the importance of the partners’ consolidated support for Georgia on the tenth anniversary of the Russian-Georgian war.
For her part, Dessislava Ivanova reaffirmed Bulgaria’s firm support for Georgia’s territorial integrity and European and Euro-Atlantic integration. According to her, Bulgaria as a liaison embassy of NATO will endeavor to make its positive contribution to bringing Georgia closer to the Alliance.
At the end of the meeting, Dessislava Ivanova, on behalf of the Bulgarian Foreign Minister, invited David Zalkaliani to Sofia.
Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili meets new Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands
Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili held an introductory meeting with Meline Arakelian, new Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to Georgia.In the meeting at the Government Administration, the key directions of cooperation between Georgia and the Kingdom of the Netherlands were discussed.The discussed topics included the relations between Georgia and the Kingdom of the Netherlands which are characterized by a growing dynamic both on the bilateral level and within the frameworks of international organizations.Attention at the meeting was paid to the process of Georgia’s European integration. The Head of Government briefed the Ambassador on Georgia’s progress and the state of affairs in the implementation of the 12 recommendations. He also pointed out that Georgia is expecting the candidate status by the end of this year.The Prime Minister emphasized the importance of granting the candidate status to Georgia and the significance of support from the Kingdom of the Netherlands in this process.Irakli Garibashvili congratulated Meline Arakelian on the commencement of her diplomatic mission in Georgia and wished her success in her future endeavors.Press Service of the Government Administration
AMBASSADOR OF TURKMENISTAN IN GEORGIA PRESENTED COPIES OF HIS CREDENTIALS
On August 31, 2023, the ceremony of presenting copies of Credentialsby the newly appointed of Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Turkmenistan in Georgia Mr. D.Seyitmammedov to the Deputy Foreign Minister of Georgia Mr. A.Khvtisiashvilitook place at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia.
The Deputy Foreign Minister of Georgia congratulated the Ambassador on his appointment and expressed readiness of the Georgian side to provide assistance and support in his activities for the further development of bilateral relations.
During the meeting, the parties exchanged views on the current state and prospects for cooperation between the two countries. Theyalso touched upon the issue of organization of high-level mutual visits, as well as the issues of further development and strengthen of Turkmen-Georgian cooperation in political-diplomatic, trade-economic, and cultural-humanitarian spheres.
The Ambassador, in turn, assured that he would make every effort to further strengthen relations between Turkmenistan and Georgia.
AMBASSADOR DEGNAN'S REMARKS TO MEDIA AT SKILLS WEEK
Question about the event
Ambassador Degnan: I’m very pleased to be here today, along with the Minister of Education, my EU colleague, and many other distinguished guests for the launch of Georgia’s Skills Week. The United States has been helping Georgia develop its education sector for years, including in the area of vocational education and training. This is because we want Georgian citizens to be able to acquire the skills they need through vocational education and training in order to get good paying jobs for rewarding lifelong careers. This is our latest program through USAID: industry-led skills bring together the private sector that coordinates with vocational education and training institutions to make sure that students are coming out with the skills that are needed in today’s market. The programs are designed to bring together the government, the private sector, vocational and education training institutions, and civil society to make sure that Georgians have the opportunity for better paying jobs and rewarding careers that are going to help both their families and their communities. So, we are delighted today to launch Skills Week, a weeklong celebration of the achievements that Georgia has made in this area.
Question on designations on individuals associated with the Georgian judiciary and U.S. study tours for judges
Ambassador Degnan: Our study tours have been popular and successful because they bring together judges from the United States with judges in Georgia and give them an opportunity to learn from each other and to share their best practices and lessons learned. Sometimes they talk about how they manage their courtrooms, the heavy workloads, or sometimes particularly interesting issues that come up during cases. Our programs are open to those who are qualified, as well as those who will benefit from these exchanges with American judges and maybe bring ideas back to their courtrooms. They’re also open to those who can go because this is a big time commitment. Sometimes, given the workloads of judges here, they’re not always able to go for the full two weeks; sometimes it’s even longer than two weeks. So, we are always delighted when Georgian judges choose to participate in our programs, and we usually have a lot of interest in them. We look forward to continuing this great exchange between Georgian and American judges.
On your second question, Parliament created these investigatory commissions as a mechanism to look into issues that are important to the people of Georgia, to look into issues of the day that require greater transparency, and more information to allow the citizens of Georgia to be better informed and also to hold people accountable and provide transparency on important issues. So, the reason this mechanism was created by Parliament was to provide citizens with more information. I think it’s a very useful technique that’s been a mechanism that’s used in many different Parliaments, including the US Congress. We would hope that Parliament and Members of Parliament would make full use of these tools that they have created in the interest of their citizens.
Question on Helsinki Commission’s call for Nika Gvaramia’s release
Ambassador Degnan: The Helsinki Commission is a very well-respected organization that has a mandate from the United States Congress to monitor human rights around the world, including media freedom. They have been clear, as have many others, including our Embassy, on concerns about Mr. Gvaramia’s case, including the original charges, the timing of the charges, and then subsequently the conviction and decision. This is a letter from an organization that has been a friend of Georgia’s for a very long time, a strong supporter of Georgia in its democratic development and its progress toward European integration. Any decision regarding pardoning is solely up to President Zourabichvili, and I’m sure she takes all of the requests—such as those from the Helsinki Commission—into consideration in making her decisions.
Conflict in Georgia: Secretary General’s Consolidated Report says little progress in human rights and humanitarian situation in conflict-affected areas
Strasbourg, 19.04.2023 – Serious concerns persist regarding the human rights situation in the areas affected by the armed conflict between the Russian Federation and Georgia in August 2008, according to a report by Secretary General Marija Pejčinović Burić presented to the Committee of Ministers and published today.
The bi-annual report (covering the period November 2022–March 2023) on the conflict in Georgia highlighted that core issues concerning the human rights and humanitarian situation in the conflict-affected areas continue to see little progress. Various restrictions on freedom of movement and access to education and healthcare remain of serious concern, including in terms of their impact on vulnerable groups.
Against the continuous impediments by the Russian Federation to peaceful conflict resolution, security, and stability in the wider region, the Secretary General welcomed Georgia’s continuous efforts and initiatives aimed at promoting dialogue and reconciliation, and their provision of free access to health care, education, and other social benefits for all residents of the Georgian regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, as well as their efforts to address the needs of internally displaced persons.
During the period under review, operational activities on Confidence-Building Measures were continued. The report, for instance, notes that archive specialists from both sides of the Administrative Boundary Line (ABL) continued to work in online format and met in person, for the first time since the Covid-19 public health crisis. Efforts have been initiated to facilitate dialogue between psychologists specialised in war traumas and on the prevention of gender-based violence on both sides of the ABL. The development of further initiatives continues in close co-ordination with the Office of the State Minister of Georgia for Reconciliation and Civic Equality.
Secretary General stressed that continuing her periodic reporting to the Committee of Ministers on the conflict in Georgia will remain a high priority.
Note for Editors
Consolidated reports on the conflict in Georgia have been prepared by the Secretary General since 2010, following a Committee of Ministers decision. The current report is based, inter alia, on the results of the fact-finding visit to Tbilisi on 13-14 February 2023. The delegation also had the possibility to observe the situation at the Administrative Boundary Line.
The current Consolidated report examines, inter alia, the implementation of the European Court’s judgments in the two inter-state cases “Georgia v. Russia (II)”, concerning the armed conflict between Georgia and the Russian Federation in 2008 and its consequences, and "Georgia v. Russia" (I)” concerning arrests, detentions and expulsions from the Russian Federation of Georgian nationals in 2006-2007.
On 20 April, the European Court of Human Rights is due to deliver a ruling on the inter-state application “Georgia v. Russia (IV)”, lodged by the Government of Georgia in August 2018, which concerns the alleged deterioration of the human rights situation along the administrative boundary lines between Georgian-controlled territory and Abkhazia and South Ossetia.
EU celebrates family connections: discover the photo contest winner from Georgia!
Natela Grigalashvili is the winner of the Family Connections Photo Contest for Georgia, with her project “The Final Days of Georgian Nomads” rewarded at a gala awards event announcing the winners of the EUNEIGHBOURS EAST - FOTOFESTIWAL photo contest on Friday 31 March 2023 at the Tbilisi Photography & Multimedia Museum.
The photo contest, funded by the European Union, invited professional photographers from the six Eastern Partnership countries - Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine - to enter a set of photographs around the theme of Family Connections, with one photographer from each country winning a prize of €1,000.
The gala awards event was hosted by Pawel Herczynski, Ambassador of the European Union to Georgia and Nestan Nizharadze, the co-founder of Tbilisi Photography & Multimedia Museum, and attended by local celebrities, and media, bloggers and influencers from across the region.
Presenting the awards, Ambassador Pawel Herczynski said: "Through this photo contest, we are proud to showcase the EU's commitment to fostering cultural exchange and promoting the power of photography as a tool for reflection and change. The theme of Family and family connections highlight the importance of our shared values and the role Family plays in shaping our societies. Congratulations to all the photographers for their creative and inspiring interpretations."
The photo competition sought personal interpretations around the theme of ‘family connections’: how does family connect us to our roots, culture, traditions, attitudes and future? Which connections define a family and make us belong? How do these connections adapt to changing worlds, technology, conflict, love and loss?
Georgian winner Natela Grigalashvili is a freelance documentary photographer based in Tbilisi, working mainly on long-term documentary projects in rural areas of the country. Her winning project, “The Final Days of Georgian Nomads”, examines the lives of nomad families in mountainous Adjara.
This is how Natela Grigalashvili describes her award-winning project:
“Mountainous Adjara is one of the most unique regions of Georgia, an area where the traditions and old ways of life have been preserved to this day. The isolation and alienation of the inhabitants of this mountainous area has been an ongoing issue for a long time, and the past decades have been especially challenging. The difficult social and economic situation in the country has hindered its development and the integration of its inhabitants with the rest of the country.
“For years, the inhabitants of Adjara have been unable to access proper education, health care and many other services. Villages often experienced electricity shortages and during harsh winters they were usually cut off from the outside world. Due to the absence of basic living conditions, many Adjarian villages are now empty. Many families have become eco migrants as they were forced to move to other regions of Georgia or abroad, mostly to Turkey. Khulo and Ghorjomi Gorge are the highest settlements of the Autonomous Republic of Adjara. There are 18 different villages of various sizes in the Gorge. Because of their small population, some of these villages only have elementary schools and high school students have to attend schools in other villages. The roads between these villages are damaged and the infrastructure is faulty.
“Almost all of the inhabitants of these villages are Muslim, and there are mosques in every large village. The residents are mostly cattle breeders, but due to the lack of pastures, cattle owners take their herds to the mountains in the summer and stay there until late autumn. Nomadic Adjarians have to move several times a year. But despite this, most of the men still have to work in Turkey, holding seasonal jobs for additional income. Because of this difficult situation, this mountainous region is slowly emptying and its unique tradition and lifestyle is being forgotten.”
Natela was one of three shortlisted photographers from Georgia. The other two were Ekaterine Kolesnikova (Morning Comes Too Soon) and Tako Robakidze (Peacekeepers).
The six winners were chosen by team of five top international judges from a total of more than 400 initial applications, narrowed down to a shortlist of 18 photographers – three from each country – who were all invited to the awards event in Tbilisi.
The other national winners are Nazik Armenakyan (Armenia), Orkhan Azimov (Azerbaijan), Pasha Kritchko (Belarus), Katerina Shosheva (Moldova), and Marysia Myanovska (Ukraine).
The gala awards event was attended by the EU Ambassador to Georgia, as well as photographers, media, content creators and influencers from Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Belarus, Moldova and Ukraine.
The day before the awards ceremony, on 30 March, the shortlisted photographers took part in a masterclass with the international judges of the competition.
The contest was organised by the EU NEIGHBOURS EAST programme, in partnership with Polish Fotofestiwal.
About Natela Grigalashvili
Natela Grigalashvili is a freelance documentary photographer based in Tbilisi, Georgia. In the past, Grigalashvili worked as a photo reporter as well as a film operator. At the beginning of her career, she used to shoot with black-and-white film but for more than a decade Grigalashvili has been taking colour photographs with a digital camera. She now mainly works on long-term documentary projects in the rural areas of Georgia, focusing on the lives and issues of people living in villages and provincial cities. While working on a photo series, Grigalashvili focuses on the story which is told by the image.