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President Margvelashvili: Italy Was One of the 29 Countries That Sharply and Loudly Called on Russia to Withdraw Troops from Georgia and Recognized Injustice of Russian Occupation from the Highest Platform of the World's Most Powerful Military Alliance

Giorgi Margvelashvili, President of Georgia and Sergio Mattarella, President of Italy have held a joint press conference at the Presidential Palace, Tbilisi. 
President Margvelashvili has spoken about Italy’s support for Georgia at the NATO Brussels Summit and in the process of Georgia’s European and Euro-Atlantic integration, thanking President Mattarella for his unwavering support. 
President Margvelashvili’s address began with condolences over the victims of Mindeli Mine tragic indecent. 
“First of all, I would like to show support to the families of the victims and the entire Georgian community. I wish quick recovery to people who have been injured in this tragic incident.
I would like to thank the President of the Republic of Italy for this crucial and historic visit to Georgia. This is the first time visit of the President of Italy to independent Georgia, which will lay the foundation to further strengthening cooperation between our countries.
I would like to thank President Mattarella for visiting Georgia and for his hospitality in Rome. Your visit, Mr. President, is a historic visit that will give a new impetus to further advancement of our cooperation. 
Italy is a strong, European country supporting Georgia. I am grateful to you for this support and today I have an opportunity to thank you once again for the unwavering support that Italy showed few days ago at the NATO Summit.
At the NATO Summit, the Italian Prime Minister clearly declared his support for Georgia, highlighting Georgia's progress and his expectation that Georgia's democratic processes will be further deepened. To my delight, he has also underlined the prospects for further advancing military cooperation with Georgia.
In addition, Italy was one of the 29 countries that sharply and loudly called on Russia to withdraw troops from Georgia, recognized injustice of Russian occupation and promoted Georgia’s European and Euro-Atlantic aspiration from the highest platform of the world's most powerful military alliance. Italy promised to strengthen Georgia’s defense capabilities until Georgia reaches its ultimate goal of membership.  
Mr. President, we also confirm dedication to our European and Euro-Atlantic aspirations and commitment to our joint projects. I would like to emphasize the TAP project that clearly reflects the geopolitical role and value of my country that is located between Europe and Asia and promotes prospects for deepening economic and energy cooperation, beneficial for the both parties involved. In one year, TAP, involving Georgia, will become a part of the Italian energy security. 
I would also like to underline that Georgia, having the most liberal trade policy in the region, has a free trade with market of two billion US dollars, also has very successful ratings in terms of doing business, corruption-free environment, and startups. Georgia opens its door wide to business partners from partner countries.
I would like to thank you, Mr. President, for visiting Georgia along with businessmen. I am sure that Georgia-Italy business relations will be further strengthened as a result of this very successful visit and the business visit of Mr. Giorgi Kvirikashvili to Italy. We attach great importance to advancing business relations.
I welcome the agreements that we have just signed.
At the end, I would like to reiterate, Mr. President, what I told you at our face-to-face meeting that every Georgian leader thanks and will thank every representative of Italy for the special assistance that you gave to my country during the hardships.
During the first wave of Georgia’s occupation in the 1990s, when Abkhazia was occupied by the Russian force, Italy opened the door to thousands of Georgians, Georgian families, sheltering and hiding them.
Thank you very much, Mr. President, for this help. I would like to underline your efforts even more because you come from the town that was particularly active in this regard.
Thank you for standing by our side in the moment of hardships. I welcome you to Georgia and I am sure your visit will give a new impetus to strengthening cooperation in various interesting areas,” President Margvelashvili said. 
According to President Mattarella, Italy appreciates Georgia's European aspirations.
"I once again express condolences over the death of Mine workers. This is a very gloomy day for Georgia.
I am very glad that this visit takes place only few months after President Margvelashvili’s visit to Rome. I am proud and honored that I am the first President of Italy to visit independent Georgia, especially in the year marking the centennial of the First Democratic Republic of Georgia.
President Margvelashvili and I have discussed our wonderful relations that are very valuable for the both countries. Our countries and peoples share centuries-old political relations, and growing economic relations that confirm how deep and important our bilateral relations and prospects for their advancement are. We hope to further strengthen our ties as a result of this visit.
Bilateral memorandums that we have just signed confirm our successful cooperation in diverse areas and combine interests of our countries, whether it is in the area of science, health, military, culture or technology. All these aspects confirm the strength of Georgia-Italy relations. Italy sees Georgia as an important, reliable and valuable partner. The joint efforts of our contingents in Afghanistan could not be underestimated.
Our economies are complementary; we would like to further develop these ties and we hope that more Italian companies will invest in Georgia, share their knowledge and enjoy the stability that Georgia offers them.
I mentioned to the President that Italy strongly supports Georgia's sovereignty and territorial integrity. I told the President that we appreciate your trust and Georgia’s desire to reach the European integration.
We appreciate Georgia's European aspirations and the European path. This policy of Georgia has brought two very important benefits, the Association Agreement that involves Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement and Visa Liberalization Agreement which is a very important tool for the country. We are sure and well aware that Italy will further support the consolidation of the Eastern Partnership and promote prosperity and stability in the region,” President Mattarella said.
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