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President Zourabichvili: Georgia Follows Lithuania’s Exemplary Path in EU and NATO Integration Process

President Salome Zourabichvili and President Dalia Grybauskaitė held a joint press conference In Vilnius.

President Zourabichvili thanked her colleague for supporting Georgia’s territorial integrity and non-recognition policy of the occupied territories, highlighting that Lithuania’s exemplary path toward NATO and EU integration is a model for Georgia.

“I would like to emphasize that this visit is one of my first foreign trips to our friendly country that has gone through a crucial path and with whom we share a lot of historic events.

The first is our independence that we celebrated last year. Madam President visited Georgia on May 26 and we all remember how she addressed Georgian population in Georgian language. This is a sign and symbol of respect and friendship between our countries that is crucial for a small country like Georgia.

Although we are far away from one another geographically, we feel very close because of our shared past and common path that we go through in modern times.

Lithuania, having reached the EU and NATO membership is ahead us on this path; the path that Lithuania went through is exemplary for us.

For me, personally, you, as a woman President and leader of the country that has gone through extremely difficult periods are exemplary. You should know from whom to take an example when you take this path.

Today, we need this friendship and support as never before because our relations with the EU are advanced to a new level. The EU has own internal challenges and in this period, with the help of our friends, we have to find our place; our place is having “more Georgia in Europe and more Europe in Georgia” through taking part in all programs. We are ready for this.

In terms of our relations with NATO, we know that a political decision should be taken. We make crucial commitment in terms of military engagement and our ongoing reforms. We have reached the most important stages. We have to continue this path.

These are not the only challenges we face. Today, in the modern world, we share similar challenges. We are two small countries located in two different regions of the Baltic and the Black Sea basins in the world where big countries, large economies, and powerful political and military forces exist. We have to resist. New threats exist and we have to be prepared.

In terms of cyber security, the second day of my visit is crucial, when Georgian and Lithuanian Ministers of Defence will sign a declaration of intent on cooperation in cyber security. This is a sign of support in dealing with new challenges.

I had talks in NATO about establishing a similar cyber center in Georgia.

At the meeting with President Grybauskaitė, we underscored the importance of further advancing our bilateral cooperation.

New transportation and logistics fields of cooperation are on the horizon of the Black Sea that connects us with the EU and there is also a place for our friendly country.

Our bilateral and multilateral cooperation in the areas of education and economics is significant. We also attach great importance to regional cooperation.

Our countries already share a network of cooperation, partnership between our cities and we have prospects for further developing this cooperation.

As for our occupied territories, it is noteworthy that Lithuania fully supports us. Lithuania always reiterates messages in support of Georgia’s non-recognition policy everywhere. Lithuania, having imposed sanctions in legislation, supports the Otkhozoria-Tatunashvili list and we are extremely thankful for this. Lithuania participates in the EU Monitoring Mission and is our loyal supporter. Lithuania realizes what it means for a country and its population to have occupied territories and also appreciates our progress despite these challenges and advancement toward our foreign objectives that are reflected in our Constitution,” President Zourabichvili said.

According to President Grybauskaitė, Georgia has impressive achievements in terms of European integration, namely, the Association Agreement, free trade agreement, and visa-free regime. All these are Georgia’s achievements; however, the progress of democratic reforms and quality of their implementation are also extremely important: Georgia should further judicial reforms and consistently follow the path of anti-corruption.

President Grybauskaitė underscored the importance of the irreversibility of Georgia's European and Euro-Atlantic integration process.

Georgia’s participation in international peacekeeping missions and contribution to protecting global security are extremely important and Georgia is highly respected for this cooperation, President Grybauskaitė said, adding that the NATO door will be opened when Georgia is ready.

Request to maintain a high quality democracy is crucial, Georgia consistently fulfills this domestic task and Lithuania will always support Georgia on this path, President Grybauskaitė highlighted. Lithuania stands by Georgia in support of its territorial integrity, she concluded.

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