Press Statements of the Prime Minister of Georgia Giorgi Kvirikashvili and the Prime Minister of Lithuania Saulius Skvernelis Print Version

2018-01-29

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Prime Minister of Georgia Giorgi Kvirikashvili
Greetings,
I am delighted to host my Lithuanian colleague, Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis, in Georgia.
It is Prime Minister Skvernelis's first visit to Georgia, and I am excited that the Prime Minister of Lithuania is the first head of government to visit Georgia in 2018. As you know, in 2018 Georgia, similar to Lithuania, is celebrating the most important date: Lithuania celebrates the 100th anniversary of the restoration of statehood, and Georgia celebrates the 100th anniversary of the establishment of the republic, all of which imbues this visit with special symbolism.
The friendship between our countries goes back many years. Lithuania is Georgia's closest ally and friend. We have emphasized repeatedly how much we appreciate the loyalty exhibited by Lithuania in terms of supporting Georgia's sovereignty and territorial integrity, also in our country's alignment with the EU and on the path to Euro-Atlantic integration.
I note with satisfaction that our cooperation and political dialogue grows deeper by the year. Our agenda includes intensive visits, and equally intensive is our interagency cooperation in defense and security, agriculture and environmental protection, culture and education, and other directions. We also enjoy productive cooperation between our legislative bodies and under international organizations. It is especially commendable that our regions and cities continue establishing friendly ties and twining.
For years, Lithuania has been conducting active cooperation in the area of development, implementing various twining programs, and sharing its experience in order to support us in the implementation of our reforms.
During today's meeting, we paid special attention to the deepening of our economic relations. Indeed, there is huge potential in this direction, and it is our priority to tap into this potential in full, so that our economic indicators may be as high as the high political level of our relations.
Although the trade turnover between the two countries grew in 2017, we will not be complacent, as we are committed to encouraging the export of Georgian products and the introduction of Lithuanian products in Georgia's market.
During the meeting with my colleague, we discussed important regional transport projects, the joint implementation of which will boost the growth of the country's transit potential and entry into new markets.
We also discussed the prospects offered by the development of the new Anaklia Deep-Sea Port, also the prospects of establishing transport ties between the new Anaklia Port and Klaipeda.
It is commendable that, in the past few years, the numbers of Lithuanian tourists in Georgia have been growing, which contributes tremendously to direct flights between Kutaisi and Vilnius. With visa-free travel for Georgian citizens in the Schengen Area, we expect growth in the people-to-people and cultural ties between our two nations. In this context, we should note that the Government of Lithuania allocated to Georgia state-funded scholarships. At this juncture, more than 200 Georgian students are studying in Lithuanian schools of higher education. I am convinced that these 200 students without exception will become Lithuania's cultural ambassadors to Georgia.
We enjoy extremely close and active cooperation with Lithuania in terms of European integration. Invaluable is Lithuania's contribution to Georgia's alignment with the EU, and Lithuania's unwavering political support of our NATO integration is just as important.
Lithuania reiterated Georgia's significant contribution to the strengthening of common Euro-Atlantic security.
During the meeting, we also discussed the state of affairs in Georgia's occupied territories, which reaffirms the need to put in place international mechanisms for security and human rights on the ground.
Special attention was paid to Russia's latest steps toward the de-facto annexation of Abkhazia and South Ossetia/Tskhinvali Region. We also discussed the growing ethnic discrimination against the Georgians in the occupied regions.
Special emphasis was placed on the need to achieve progress on the key issues on the agenda of the Geneva International Talks.
We underscored the importance of the EU Monitoring Mission and the need to enforce its mandate throughout Georgia's territories.
I would like to emphasize once again that the Government of Georgia remains committed to the peaceful resolution of the conflicts.
In conclusion, I would like to reiterate the symbolism of today's visit. Generations of Lithuanians and Georgians have been united by the fight for freedom. Our countries have found loyal friends in each other, and I believe that we will further cement and strengthen this friendship.
On my part, I would like to add that I am delighted to have made a new friend, to have found a true patriot of his country, and a great friend of Georgia. I wish him success in his endeavors, and I once again welcome him to Georgia!
Thank you very much.


Prime Minister of Lithuania Saulius Skvernelis
Your Excellence,
Prime Minister of Georgia,
Firstly, allow me to thank you for inviting me to Georgia and for providing an opportunity to discuss many issues that are important to our region and to maintain intensive political dialogue between our countries.
I would like to emphasize that Georgia is Lithuania's most important partner in the South Caucasus. We have always had special feelings for your country, and we share common approaches to security and global issues, and respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity is our fundamental binding principle.
Lately, Georgia has been-and rightly so-hailed as the leader in the region. We congratulate Georgia on its approaches, on its steps toward European integration, and we also appreciate that Georgia values so highly our support. We are convinced that Georgia will keep its leading position. We welcome your active engagement in the EU's defense and security policy. We welcome the signing of the agreement on visa-free travel between Georgia and the EU, and the successful implementation of the EU-Georgia Association Agreement. It is a result of the Georgian Government's consistent efforts, and we have always supported Georgia on its path to European and Euro-Atlantic integration. The successful implementation of the EU-Georgia Association Agreement is yet another step toward Europe. We welcome Georgia's European prospects.
In addition, I see Georgia as one of the most active and reliable partners. We are especially grateful of Georgia for its practical involvement in NATO-led operations, for the active participation of your troops in various mission, and your determination to protect global peace must become a weighty argument in terms of prospects of Georgia's accession to NATO.
We are steadfast in our support of Georgia's territorial integrity, and we strongly condemn Russia's creeping annexation of Georgia's regions of Abkhazia and Tskhinvali.
We are consistently raising this issue at international forums, demanding that Russia fully comply with the six-point ceasefire agreement.
We are excited to have exemplary cooperation in a variety of directions, such as tourist inflows, for instance. Equally important is that Georgian students, who are being educated in Lithuania, take interest in the Lithuanian language, especially after the adoption of a Georgian course at the Vilnius University. We have also seen Lithuanians take interest in the Georgian language.
We reiterate the close relations between our countries. Once again, thank you so much, Your Excellence!