Georgian PM Delivers Speech at 72nd Session of UN General Assembly

Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili delivered speech at the United Nations (UN) 72nd General Assembly in New York, United States (US) on September 22.

The PM said that 2017 marks the 25th anniversary of Georgia's membership in the United Nations.

“Over this period, we managed to transform our country from a UN humanitarian aid recipient to a top reformer that recently was elected as the Chair of the Open Government Partnership,” he stated.

Kvirikashvili underlined that Georgia has advanced in all international rankings in the past five years. According to him, Frazer institute ranks Georgia as the fifth freest economy in the world.

He also added that Georgia has succeeded in fighting corruption and improved protection of property rights. According to him, Georgia is committed to an independent judiciary.

“We promised our people that we would introduce a parliamentary system and improve our constitution to conform to the best European standards. Our commitments reflect Georgians' aspirations to attain full membership in the European Union and NATO. Georgians understand this to be their destiny, as Georgia has long been an integral part of Europe's broad cultural and historical tapestry,” the Prime Minister said.

Kvirikashvili also spoke about the Georgian government’s four-point plan, which envisages modifying Georgia's income tax rules, improving governance, accelerating infrastructure projects and developing higher education. He said the government is working very actively in all four directions in order to develop the country and take it closer to European standards.

He said Georgia - together with Ukraine and Moldova - signed an Association Agreement with Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area and achieved visa-free travel to the EU, adding Georgia has become the first country in the region to sign a Free Trade Agreement with China. 

Furthermore, the PM spoke about the main regional projects which are underway with Georgia’s participation. These projects are the One Belt One Road project, which will facilitate trade in high-value goods and services between Europe and Asia, the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway project, and Georgia's Deep Sea port on the Black Sea in Anaklia. 

The PM’s speech also focused on the issue of Russian occupation. He stressed that in 2017, Russia has intensified its policy of occupation and factual annexation of Georgian regions of Abkhazia and Tskhinvali/South Ossetia.

Kvirikashvili added that Russia has implemented so-called "integration treaties" and signed "agreements" with de-facto authorities to absorb Georgia's occupied regions into Russia's military, political, economic and social systems and accelerated its military build-up in both occupied regions of Georgia. He added that Russia has intensified the fortification of the occupation lines by installing razor wire fences, trenches, so-called "border signs," and other artificial barriers.

“Families have even suffered razor wires cutting through their dwellings or farmyards. Vulnerable groups, such as people in need of medical care and schoolchildren crossing to get an education in their native language, prohibited in the occupied regions, have been blocked by closed crossing points. Meanwhile Russia continues to install motion detectors and other technologies to assert full control of all crossings along the occupation line,” he stressed.

However, the PM clearly noted that Georgia is firmly committed to the peaceful resolution of the Russia-Georgia conflict.

“The Government of Georgia is providing new instruments to rebuild trust with our compatriots living across the occupation line. We are determined to make the benefits of Georgia's European agenda available to the people on the other side of occupation line,” he said.

Kvirikashvili also underlined that Georgia is a significant contributor to Euro-Atlantic security and actively participates in peacekeeping missions to defeat terrorism.

“Our strategic partnership with the United States has proved to be key for our development and stability and we are committed to deepening our ties further. The EU in its Global Strategy has recognized Georgia's success as prosperous, peaceful and stable democracy, significant contributor in its neighborhood,” the PM stated.

By Thea Morrison

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22 September 2017 11:16