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President's Speech at The Second United Nations Conference on Landlocked Developing Countries

Let me welcome you all and stress that we are honored to represent here Georgia, which is not a land- locked country, but is very much connected to these issues. Let me once more stress that we are thankful to government of Austria for organizing this event and we support Secretary General Ban Ki Moon in his contribution to the cause of the land locked developing countries. We fully support Secretary General Ban Ki Moon on his position, that to overcome the existing millennium development goals and keeping self-focus on poverty reduction and linking these issues with the landlocked developing countries problems.

Georgia is not a land locked country, but it is very much linked in its policy and policy development to the issue of the land locked developing countries. Actually, out of fourteen countries on Euro-Asian continent eight countries: Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan Tajikistan and Kirgizstan are linked to Georgia and through Georgia they find their access to the sea.

We originally have been very much concerned and concentrated on developing our policy on the issues of land locked developing countries, because it was the strategic direction that Georgia took since its independence - to link the resources of central Asia with the markets of Europe and vice versa . We’ve been developing our agenda in this respect and we’ve been doing this in several different levels and several different contexts.

First of all, we have been very active in developing our infrastructure that will provide and secure access and transit through Georgian territories – we’ve been developing roads, highways. Currently, we are developing a very important railroad system, which is linking Azerbaijan to Georgia and Turkey and is providing great opportunities for central Asian countries to transit through Georgia. We have been developing ports’ infrastructure also in this respect. More than that  - we’ve been calling our partners to engage in this process and to participate in this process in the public-private partnership formats and we’ve been opening the country to this transit and full access to our neighbors on the European and Asian sides.

Furthermore, for providing energy supply resources, we’ve been open to important energy transportation projects like oil, gas and we’ve been traditionally, from the beginning engaged in the developing those projects and those projects were basically linking Caspian resources with Europe whether this is gas, oil.

Right now we are very active on developing a project between Georgia, Azerbaijan and Turkey and further linking it with Europe. This is a project, which is creating great opportunities for the countries that are linking with each other to Georgia. We have been very active on trying to introduce the free trade formats and free trade environment in this region.

We are among the eight neighboring land locked developing countries; we have free trade formats with seven of them and are developing a joint infrastructure and the joint approach to facilitating transportation through these areas. Furthermore, we are engaged in transportation and trade of energy, of electricity resources and we are trying to link this electricity resources to the land locked developing countries’ agendas as well.

At the same time, we’ve been very active in engaging our partners to participate in development of those infrastructures. We are for creation of a unified approach on transit, on the prices of transit and engaging our neighbors in this process. So, to sum it up, Georgia’s agenda as a transit country, as a country that is basically creating an opportunity and a gateway for eight countries of this region is for partnering and opening these possibilities for our partners in Asia, but I should also note that one of very important contexts for creating these opportunities, for furthering these opportunities is keeping peace and stability and accessibility of these possibilities to the countries of the region.

When we are talking about Georgia and its attitude towards engaging our neighboring countries in central Asia, we are at the same talking about opening opportunities on the Black Sea and the Black Sea issues have become more and more tense in 2014. The Black Sea became a country of occupation of Crimea, of annexation of Crimea and we are facing right now further issues that are linked with furthering occupation to the level of annexation of the occupied territory of Abkhazia in Georgia.

So, I would like to finish my address with the call for everyone to get very actively engaged not only in opening possibilities, but securing peace, stability and opportunities for the countries that are engaged through securing peace in these areas and specifically security, peace and stability in one of the Black Sea countries that I represent.



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