Published in Politics
Monday, 24 October 2022 11:13

The Speaker of the Parliament of Georgia, Shalva Papuashvili, wrote a letter to the President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, Martinus Tiny Kox, stating that the inclusion of Mikheil Saakashvili in the amendment to the Resolution changes the essence and spirit of the Resolution and undermines the fundamental values of PACE and the credibility of the organisation in upholding human rights, democracy and the rule of law across Europe. "News Day Georgia" offers this statement in full:

To the PACE President, Tiny Kox
Mr. President,
A long-standing partnership of the Parliament of Georgia with the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe allows me to address you with regards to Resolution 2463 (2022): “Further escalation in the Russian Federation’s aggression against Ukraine, debated under the urgent procedure of the fourth part of the ordinary session. Despite our full solidarity to Ukraine in the face of the Russian aggression, approval of the following amendment has prevented the members of the Georgian Delegation from supporting the Resolution: “the Assembly calls on the Russian authority for the immediate release of Vladimir Kara-Murza. The Assembly also calls for a review of cases of other political prisoners opposed to Putin in the Russian Federation and other countries, and for their release (including Mikheil Saakashvili – a Ukrainian citizen and former President of Georgia)”.

We believe that the inclusion of Mikheil Saakashvili in this amendment (a) changes the essence and spirit of the Resolution, and (b) undermines the fundamental values of PACE and the credibility of organization in upholding human rights, democracy and rules of law across Europe. The European Court of Human Rights issued over 100 judgements during Mr. Saakashvili’s rule, including 13 cases on Article 2 (right to life), 34 cases on Article 3 (prohibition of torture), 15 cases on Article 5 (right to liberty and security), and 44 cases on Article 6 (right to a fair trial). Moreover, the Court underlined in its Alexander Girgvliani murder case (Enukidze and Girgvliani v. Georgia) that Mr. Saakashvili hindered an effective investigation and appropriate punishment.

The Report on Human Rights Development in Georgia in 2004-2012 made by Mr. Thomas Hammamberg, former Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights and the EU Special Adviser on Constitutional and Legal Reform and Human Rights in Georgia in 2013 is a testament to systemic violations of the Convention-related rights during Saakashvili’s presidency. It identifies an alarming situation in areas of judiciary, penitentiary, law enforcement, rights of minorities, rights to take part in public affairs, freedom of expression, assembly and association, and social justice. Mr. Saakashvili has been convicted in Georgia in two criminal cases (the one on the above-mentioned Girgvliani case and the other on organizing an attack against opposition MP Valeri Gelashvili).

Three other criminal cases are pending (on the exceeding and abusing of official powers during the breaking up of anti-government protests on November 7, 2007, and the subsequence seizure of Imedi TV, an independent television broadcaster; on embezzlement of funds from the State Protection Service for personal use; and on illegal crossing of the Georgian state border). The ECHR refused to accept Mr. Saakashvili’s case regarding his treatment by Georgia’s penitentiary system. ECHR has found there were no “special circumstances” in the application relating to respect for human rights, which would have required the body to continue the examination of the case.

The decision of the European Court has once again confirmed that the rights and interests of Mikheil Saakashvili were fully protected in the penitentiary system per the standards of the ECHR. Georgia has both a clear track record of protecting human rights, democracy and rule of law since 2012 and closely cooperating with the ECHR in implementing its judgements. Georgian cases to the ECHR dropped 5,5 times in 2013-2021 compared to Mr. Saakashvili’s rule in 2004-2012, owing to the progress in credibility, independence and professionalism of the Georgian courts.

This progress has been duly reflected in the Resolution 2438 “The honoring of obligations and commitments by Georgia” adopted by the Assembly during the second part of the 2022 ordinary session. Having this in mind, we believe there is no evidence of political motivations in the charges against Mr. Saakashvili other than politically-driven speculations. Therefore, the adoption of language as in amendment 4 represents an unsubstantiated challenge for the Georgian legal system, invites unjustified suspicion against our country in international fora and undermines Georgia’s reform progress in human rights and the rule of law since 2012.

More importantly, the unfounded provisions on Mr. Saakshvili jeopardize the credibility of PACE within the wider Georgian public and erode our efforts to solidify support for the ambitious reform agenda aligned with recommendations of the relevant PACE resolutions.

We remain hopeful that PACE members will in future be guided only by the best interests of the organization and its fundamental values. We stand ready to provide detailed insight on any issue of your interest about Georgia. Please, accept, Mr. President, the assurances of my highest consideration and esteem.


Shalva Papuashvili
The Chairman of the Parliament of Georgia

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  • Speech by Chinese Ambassador Zhou Qian in the Parliament of Georgia

    Yesterday, an extended meeting of the advisory council of the culture committee was held in the Georgian parliament, with the participation of representatives of the diplomatic corps.

    At the meeting of the advisory board of the cultural committee, the Ambassador of China to Georgia H.E. Zhou Qian made a speech:
    "Distinguished Chairman of the Parliament Shalva Papuashvili, First Deputy Chairman George Volski, Deputy Chairman Archil Talakvadze
    Members of the Parliament, Advisers of the Cultural Committee, Ambassadors,
    Good afternoon.
    Let me begin with thanking Chairperson Elisso Bolkvadze for inviting me to today’s meeting. It’s my great honor to share China’s vision and initiative on promoting cultural exchanges in today’s world.
    As the world facing profound change unseen in centuries, the humanity is under unprecedented challenges. Ukraine Crisis and Palestinian-Israeli Conflict are warning calls to the world: we must take a firm position against theories like “clash of civilizations” and “superiority of certain civilization” and realize that culture diversity is fundamental for the human society. The future and fate of all countries and nations are closely bonded like never before. The whole world, as a family, needs tolerance, harmony and unity. Being the only ancient civilization that runs for five thousands years without interruption, China always proposes strengthening exchanges and mutual learning between different civilizations, so as to overcome estrangement and co-exist with each other. This March, Chinese President Xi Jinping proposed Global Civilization Initiative, which can be summarized as four joint advocates, namely jointly advocate the respect for the diversity of civilizations, the common values of humanity, the importance of inheritance and innovation of civilizations and robust international people-to-people exchanges and cooperation. Only by abandoning the cold war mentality of “black or white” and vigorously promoting equal-footing dialogue among civilizations, can we address global risks and challenges and achieve common development.
    China and Georgia are both ancient civilizations in the world. The two countries were connected by the ancient Silk Road, gained friendship through constant exchanges, deepened cooperation and became strategic partners. During tens of centuries of exchanges, China and Georgia have left distinctive hallmarks in each other’s culture: for example, the word "Chinebuli", which means "beautiful" in Georgian , is related to ancient Chinese goods. 700 years ago, ancient Chinese books already recorded a nation’s name “Qu’er Zhi”and “Gu’er Zhi”, which sound similar to the present-day pronunciation of Georgia.

    This July, Georgian Prime Minister Garibashvili paid a visit to China. The two countries published a joint statement on establishing strategic partnership. In this statement, Georgia express its support for Global Civilization Initiative and stands ready to cooperation with China to its implementation. Looking back at different events during Prime Minister’s visit, cultural exchanges between China and Georgia were everywhere to be seen: at the welcoming banquet hosted by President Xi Jinping for foreign leaders attending the Chengdu University Games, Nocturne, written by Georgian composer Vaja Azarashvili, was one of the songs played at the scene. Before the banquet, Prime Minister savored the Chinese tea and watched the presentation of Chinese intangible cultural heritage like shadow puppetry. During his stay in Beijing, Prime Minister attended a ceremony in Beijing Language and Culture University to unveil the statue of the great Georgian poet Shota Rustaveli.
    With efforts from both sides, cultural and people-to-people exchanges yield fruitful results in this year. Chinese embassy in Georgia hosted cultural events like “Chinese Bridge” and Chinese Film Festival. Georgian embassy in China organized series of Georgian film presentation events. Georgian national troupe Erisioni also brought their splendid performance to Chinese Xinjiang Autonomous Region.
    One of the experience learned from Chinese development miracle over the past 40 years is the promotion of the rule of law in a comprehensive manner, which is not only the basis for a thriving market economy, but also a guarantee for the revitalization and prosperity of ancient civilizations. We stand ready to enhance exchanges and mutual learning with Georgia in culture and relevant legislation. Being both ancient civilizations that share values like hospitality, mutual respect, caring for family and elders, we have every reason to believe that the great Georgian civilization, which has made significant contributions to the humanity, such as wine, will be and should be revitalized and prosperous again in the 21st century" -- the Ambassador of China to Georgia H.E. Zhou Qian said in his speech.


    The Advisory Council at the Culture Committee Parliament of Georgia held a Special Session.

    The ceremony was attended by MPs, the diplomatic corps, and the specially invited guests. The main rapporteurs of the panel discussion were: the former Director General of UNESCO, the Head of the International Scientific Council at the Scientific Missions and Sustainability Global Commission, Irina Bokova; the Vice-President of the Swiss International Policy Forum, associated expert of the Geneva Centre for Security Policy, David Chikvaidze; the leadership, culture and development professor, Ghassan Khalil; as well as: the US Ambassador, H.E. Robin Dunnigan; the Ambassador of France, H.E. Sheraz Gasri; the Ambassador of the Czech Republic, H.E. Petr Kubernát; the Ambassador of Japan, H.E. Ishizuka Hideki; the Ambassador of Bulgaria, H.E. Vesselin Valkanov; the Ambassador of Germany, H.E. Ernst Peter Fischer; the Ambassador of Italy, H.E. Enrico Valvo; the Ambassador of China, H.E. Zhou Qian; and the Ambassador of Azerbaijan, H.E. Faig Guliyev.

    The Speaker, Shalva Papuashvili addressed the attendees accentuating the activity of the Culture Committee and the role of the Council.

    I am glad that against the background of a busy political agenda, we can always find a moment to discuss culture and the issues, which ultimately serve as the basis for the development of our country, nation and society. Thus, I particularly value the activity of the Committee and the Advisory Council as a model of cooperation between the Parliament and civil society, when the Councils at the Committees are engaged in the development of the policy.”, - he stated.

    The Vice-Speaker, Archil Talakvadze also emphasized the importance of the Culture Committee, stating that culture and arts in Georgia are of particular value since they are part of our national identity and the business card of our country.

    I would like to express my support to the cultural sphere and extend best wishes to the Culture Committee and its Chair, Eliso Bolkvadze. Taking respect to our cultural heritage, I believe that we will build a more harmonic, educated, and successful society”.

    The Chair of the Culture Committee, Eliso Bolkvadze overviewed the importance of cultural diplomacy and noted that it is one of the priorities of the Committee. According to her, in 2024, the Parliament will consider the legal initiative on art education.

    Against the current reality and in the context of the approximation of the nations, culture plays a key role. The cultural cooperation of the nations with the identity enriches the idea of a unified Europe and globally facilitates the development of humankind. I would like to underline that the establishment of the Culture Committee as a standalone unit evidences that the state vision implies the development of culture for the benefit of the country”, - she stated.

    The panel discussion agenda included: the importance of the art education reform in Georgia; raising awareness and creativity of the youth in the modern world; the role of leader women through culture; and the role of culture in peacebuilding processes.

  • Prospects of Inter-parliamentary cooperation between Turkmenistan and Georgia were discussed

    On November 6, 2023, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Turkmenistan in Georgia Mr. D. Seyitmammedov met with Chairman of Parliament of Georgia Mr. Shalva Papuashvili.

    During the meeting, special attention was paid to the interaction between legislative bodies of the two countries, which is an integral component in the development of comprehensive Turkmen-Georgian cooperation. The sides also discussed promising areas of cooperation in trade, economic, transport and communication, energy, as well as in the humanitarian and cultural spheres.

    Particular emphasis was placed on the intensification of cooperation between the Inter-Parliamentary Friendship Groups of the two countries, which serves an important tool for promoting constructive partnership, maintaining the bonds of friendship and mutual between countries and peoples.

    The participants also discussed the issues related to the organization of visit of Chairman of Parliament of Georgia in Turkmenistan and noted the increasing role of parliamentary diplomacy in the political and diplomatic sphere.


    "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.


    The Speaker, H.E. Shalva Papuashvili held a meeting with the Speaker of the Parliament of Iceland (Althingi), Birgir Ármannsson.

    The parties hailed the recent intensification of Georgia-Iceland relations and highlighted the significance of high-level visits for further extension of the bilateral links. In this light, it was emphasized that Georgia is hosting the President of Iceland, Guðni Jóhannesson in the autumn of 2023.

    Speaker Papuashvili overviewed the progress of Georgia at the NATO integration path and upheld democratic reforms. As he underlined, Georgia attaches particular value to the opportunity to participate in the NATO Summit scheduled in July and expressed his hope for the support of Iceland in this regard.

    The parties touched upon the Russian war in Ukraine and its consequences for Georgia.

    Speaker Ármannsson expressed the support of his country to the NATO integration of Georgia and shared the experience of Iceland in the relations with the EU as a member of the European Economic Area (EEA). The parties agreed on further intensification of parliamentary ties.

    The meeting was held within the framework of the official visit of Speaker Papuashvili to the Czech Republic, where Mr. Papuashvili and the Chair of the EU Integration Committee, Maka Botchorishvili participate in the Conference of Speakers of the European Union Parliaments (EUSC).

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