Estonia’s Kaljulaid: Georgia Is Eastern Partnership Torchbearer

The President of Estonia, Kersti Kaljulaid, says Estonia will continue supporting Georgia in bilateral and multilateral formats, adding it is the “torchbearer” of the Eastern Partnership states.

Kaljulaid made the statement during her meeting with the Prime Minister of Georgia, Mamuka Bakhtadze, in Tbilisi.

The President of Estonia commended the Georgian government's strategy of the EU and NATO, and Georgia's progress in European and Euro-Atlantic integration was singled out. 

The conversation also involved the Georgian government's peace initiative - A Step to a Better Future, which seeks to restore confidence among the conflict-torn populations and to provide access to education, healthcare, and commercial activities.

Kaljulaid reaffirmed her country’s firm support of Georgia's territorial integrity and sovereignty, for which the Prime Minister expressed gratitude.

According to Bakhtadze, the Government of Georgia appreciates Estonia's firm support in this process. He said Georgia's European integration is the Georgian people's civilizational choice. 

The Georgian side expressed interest in sharing Estonia's experience across such areas as education, SME development, and digital technology. As the PM pointed out, educational reform, digital transformation, and promotion of SMEs is the government's absolute priority as one of the crucial preconditions for economic development and poverty elimination.

Kaljulaid also had a meeting with Giorgi Margvelashvili, President of Georgia, who thanked her for her unwavering and firm support for Georgia.

“I hear your very clear stand on Georgia’s occupation, specifically on the term of ‘occupation’.  Georgia knows and respects your courageous and strong position. Thank you for being such a friend and such a strong supporter,” Margvelashvili told his Estonian counterpart.

Kersti Kaljulaid, who arrived in Georgia to participate in the international conference “World in 2018: Upside Down,” organized by the McCain Institute, stated it is very important to develop western democracies.

“We all have to stand together in order to promote Western alliances, democracies and also to promote the political courage to call a spade a spade, to call occupation an occupation and never give up even if it takes sometimes half a century to achieve your strategic goals,” the President of Estonia said.

She expressed the hope that Georgia will solve its problems sooner than expected, adding there are many paths that Georgia can take to accelerate European integration, including fulfillment of the terms of the DCFTA with the European Union and continuation of the reformation process.

The meeting focused on prospects for advancing the Georgia-Estonia strategic partnership, security challenges in the region, outcomes of the Russian occupation, non-recognition policy of the occupied territories, and Estonia’s unwavering support for Georgia.

 By Thea Morrison

14 September 2018 07:58