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President Zourabichvili: “Germany Is One of Strongest Partners in EU, NATO Integration Process”

President Salome Zourabichvili and H.E. Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Federal President of Germany, made a joint press conference following their one-on-one and enlarged-format meetings held at the Presidential Palace, during which the situation in Georgia’s occupied territories and on the occupation line was underlined.

“It is essential that Georgia not be forgotten because of the conflict in Ukraine. The tense situation in our occupied territories can turn into a more serious situation at any time and it is necessary to, on the one hand, deescalate the situation, and, on the other hand, to find a solution.
“One way is to strengthen the existing formats of negotiations and to use the other formats where other conflicts are addressed. Another way, and one of the most important paths toward de-escalation, is the expansion of the European Union Monitoring Mission’s jurisdiction.
“Germany is one of Georgia’s strongest partners in the EU and NATO integration processes. We have great expectations that Germany will stand by us throughout our process of sectoral integration into all possible EU policies and programs, until a political decision of Georgia’s EU membership is made.”

The Presidents also discussed regional partnership, especially in culture.
“Signing a memorandum on culture will deepen the relations between Georgia and Germany even more. Historically, Germany has always been interested in Georgian culture, as was shown by the Frankfurt International Book Fair, one of the most significant moves forward on the road to enter the European space,” said President Zourabichvili.
President Zourabichvili also pointed out that the countries have a large potential to increase their economic ties, which haven’t been used to their full extent yet.
“President Steinmeier will visit Kakheti today and this will be the first time that we’ll hold an official dinner there, instead of Tbilisi. This should become a tradition. We should show our partners and the rest of the world that Georgia’s development isn’t only happening in Tbilisi, but also in its stable regions.
“The issue linked with visa liberalization, which concerns our partners, was underscored at the meeting. We are also concerned that the flow-out isn’t slowing down. However, specific measures have been taken and we hope that our cooperation with FRONTEX and individual countries will move us to another aspect, that of circular migration that would support vocational qualifications. Circular migration is one of the civilized ways to change the migration flow into an active and temporary flow that will come back to Georgia with a new experience and will become an essential basis for national development.
“Finally, I should also highlight the fifth visit of the North Atlantic Council to Georgia and our meeting in Batumi. On our partnership with NATO and our bilateral cooperation with Germany, support to Georgia’s military development is very significant and we are very grateful for that support.
“Our cooperation with the peacekeeping mission in Afghanistan is forgotten neither by Germany, nor by us,” stated President Zourabichvili.
President Frank-Walter Steinmeier noted that Germany remains one of the most active supporters of Georgia’s integration into NATO and the European Union.
 “Georgia has neither a favorable neighborhood nor an easy geographic location. Tomorrow, I will visit the administrative boundary line of the Tskhinvali Region, the so-called demarcation line. You have already mentioned the EUMM and you can always count on Germany’s political support. The road to independence is the unwavering will of the Georgian people to create a state with democratic values. Germany has not only observed this process, it has been an active supporter and a major partner of Georgia on this path,” said President Steinmeier

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