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President Zourabichvili: Georgia Needs More Consent and Stronger Involvement of the EU and International Community to Find New More Audacious and Peaceful Solutions of the Conflict

Salome Zourabichvili, President of Georgia has held a meeting with Donald Tusk, President of the European Council, as part of her first working visit to Brussels. Donald Tusk has congratulated President Zourabichvili on her election victory, highlighting that he values the President’s efforts in dealing with current social and political challenges of Georgia.
Donald Tusk has announced that he will visit Georgia in July 2019 to attend the Batumi Conference marking the 10th anniversary of the Eastern Partnership.
In her address delivered at the joint press conference, President Zourabichvili has thanked Donald Tusk for warm reception and the European Institution for unwavering support for Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. “These are the top priorities for Georgia,” she added, currently protected by the Constitution of Georgia that entered into force after President Zourabichvili’s election.
“I would like to underline that my election also shows the support from Europe. My European past was not a small part into the success in the elections. Georgia has defined the EU integration as one of the central perspectives for its development.
This year, we are celebrating many anniversaries. Fifteen years have passed since we joined the “Neighbourhood”, after we were told it was almost impossible. Ten years have passed since we joined the Partnership; five years that we have the Association Agreement. As I joked, but not completely, in every five years we have to get something more. So, we are ready. We are realists and we know that the EU is facing serious questions at this time; [we know] that some answers that we are waiting for might not be immediate for today, but that does not mean that we in any way slow down our cooperation and work.
We are going to celebrate the Eastern Partnership in our way together, but also we intend to have a very important meeting in Batumi because it will be the time to look back at what we have achieved and we have achieved a lot and to look at what we can do to consolidate the achievements of the past years, but also to start thinking with new political sense of partnership with other associate members and with the region. There are many developments in our region, in Caucasus, in the Black Sea and we need to make the Black Sea again the sea of cooperation, linking the EU with our region of Caucasus and being an addition for stability, rather than an addition for insecurity. And, Georgia’s European path is, certainly, a way to promote regional stability, boost democratic development in the region and continue to deepen that relationship.
I want to specifically thank the President for the very significant role that the EU has been playing in keeping peace and stability along the occupation line. The importance of the EU monitoring mission is not overstated, it is really central, because it is the one international presence added to very sensitive occupation line and that is what provides this additional sense of security for the population that is living on both sides of this occupying line. It is central for us to continue to develop the new initiative that we have been developing.
I think that we also need a more consent and stronger involvement of the international community – of the EU, but not only of the EU – to find new, more audacious and peaceful solutions of the conflict. In all directions, both – you and us, we need to think new situation that we have around us.
And, finally, I want to assure you that I will be more frequent guest in Brussels and I, also, want to thank you for accepting to come to Batumi Conference. I am sure that there will be high level representation of the EU, but also of our partners and we are convinced that it will be an important step in defining what will be our future relationship,” President Zourabichvili said.
In his statement, Donald Tusk has emphasized the unwavering support of the European Union for Georgia’s independence and sovereignty.
“The EU-Georgia partnership is outstanding and far-reaching. The EU is Georgia's largest trading partner and since the introduction of the visa-free regime in March 2017, over 300,000 Georgians have enjoyed visa-free travel.
In our meeting today, I reconfirmed the EU's commitment to intensifying our cooperation in the framework of the Association Agreement. The agreement has brought significant benefits to our citizens and has potential to strengthen further Georgia's social, economic, political and institutional resilience.
Today, I also welcomed Georgia's dedication to reform. The President and I agreed on the importance of progress in the rule of law and judicial areas. More than 10 years have passed since the August 2008 war between Russia and Georgia. I re-state the EU's unchanging support for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Georgia and to conflict resolution efforts. Last year Tbilisi launched important trade, education and health initiatives towards people living in Abkhazia and South Ossetia. We stand ready to provide further assistance to all those, whose lives have been affected by conflict, and to facilitate dialogue. Regionally, Georgia's continued, strong support to the Eastern Partnership is important.
Later this year, we will celebrate its 10th anniversary. This will be an opportunity to reflect on the progress we have made together. I thank Georgia for the proposal to dedicate the 2019 Batumi Conference to this anniversary. I will be very glad to visit Georgia again, to attend this conference in July. Madam President, let me conclude by once again wishing you every success in your office, and I look forward to working with you,” Donald Tusk said.

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