Georgia’s Ambassadors Meet to Discuss Foreign Policy Challenges

TBILISI – The heads of Georgia’s Diplomatic Missions abroad have gathered in Tbilisi for an annual meeting running that runs from Wednesday-July 29 to discuss the past year’s foreign policy developments.

In his opening statements at the conference, Foreign Affairs Minister Mikheil Janelidze said Georgia’s main diplomacy aims are maintaining the country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, Euro-Atlantic integration, strengthening regional ties, as well as support and protection of Georgian citizens abroad.

Janelidze said guaranteeing the safety of Georgian citizens has come to the forefront of Tbilisi’s diplomatic missions tasks as the number of deadly terrorist attacks around the world have grown significantly in the last year.

“Georgia’s diplomatic missions will try to find ways of dealing with the current global challenges and keep a close eye on the situation,” said Janelidze.

Georgian Prime Minister of Georgia Giorgi Kvirikashvili said the Association Agreement with the European Union, which came into force on July 1, was the country’s single-most important foreign policy development in 2015.

Kvirikashvili said, however, that the process of European integration could not be completed without visa liberalization that would allow Georgian passport holders to travel to the EU visa-free for up to 90 days.

“We hope that a final decision on Georgian citizens’ visa-free travel regime to the EU is just a matter of time and that a decision will be made soon,” said Kvirikashvili.

With regards to relations with Russia, Kvirikashvili said, “When 20 per cent of our country remains occupied, of course, it is impossible to talk about any progress and achievements regarding relations with them (Moscow). However, as a result of our pragmatic policy towards Russia, we have been able to establish the type of dialogue that avoids war and armed confrontations.”

Kvirikashvili took the time to thank Georgia’s ambassadors and diplomats in his opening statements, saying they played a major role in the country’s ability to develop its economy peacefully and implement important democratic and economic reforms.

The first annual meeting of Georgia’s diplomatic corps was held in 1995 and presided over by then-Foreign Minister Irakli Menagarishvili, who brought Georgian and foreign diplomats together at the State Chancellery in Tbilisi to discuss plans for developing the country, regional relations and future prospects.

By Eka Karsaulidze

Edited by Nicholas Waller

27 July 2016 09:57