Executive Government Meeting held on January 21, 2021

2021-01-21

Today's Government meeting at the Administration of the Government was held under the chairmanship of Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia. The Cabinet discussed 13 issues on its meeting agenda.

Prime Minister's Statements at Cabinet Meeting

Only those vaccines that enjoy authorization from the World Health Organization will be imported into the country, Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia stated during today's Cabinet meeting, which approved the national action plan for vaccination.

The Head of Government, in discussing the national action plan for vaccination, pointed out that all stakeholders took part in its development. The plan seeks to make sure that 60% of the population are vaccinated by the end of 2021.

"As you know, at the previous Cabinet meeting, the Health Ministry was instructed to finalize the national action plan for vaccination, to make sure that it is approved by today's Cabinet meeting. The relevant working group was created on December 15 to bring together all stakeholders, including experts, international partners, field specialists, epidemiologists, doctors, the Public Defender, and others," Giorgi Gakharia said.

According to the plan, the highest-risk target groups will be vaccinated first.

"Alongside its key goal, equally important is the plan's technical aspect, including timeframe and target groups to vaccinated in stages according to this timeframe. Allow me to emphasize that the highest-risk target groups will be vaccinated at the initial stage, meaning medical personnel, long-term care facility residents, our senior citizens aged 75 and over, and then all our citizens aged between 65 and 75," Giorgi Gakharia stated.

Technically, Georgia is ready to receive any authorized vaccine, the Head of Government added.

"The development of this plan is of key importance. Georgia, along with our European partners, is a member of the COVAX platform designed to supply countries with vaccines. Georgia, as early as 5-6 months ago, applied on this platform for 1.5 million vaccines in the nearest future. And we also transferred necessary financial resources. The key goal now is to make sure that our healthcare system is ready for vaccination of this magnitude in the course of one year. Technically, Georgia is ready to receive any authorized vaccine. You must be aware of the importance of a cold chain and maintaining necessary temperatures in this process. Georgia is ready to receive vaccines in both technical terms and from the point of view of retrained medical personnel. This plan fully meets present challenges, and we are, in fact, ready to start vaccinating in the foreseeable future. In addition, the Government continues bilateral negotiations with vaccine manufacturers, though there is one thing we must keep in mind. Only those vaccines that enjoy authorization from the World Health Organization will be imported into the country, and that is our and our European partners' principled stance, which stands for looking after the safety and health of our citizens," Giorgi Gakharia stated.

During the meeting, the Head of Government also commented on the final decision in the Georgia vs Russia case to be announced today by the European Court of Human Rights.

According to the Prime Minister, today is one of the most important days in Georgia's contemporary history in that it marks the first instance when an international court assesses the Russo-Georgian War in 2008.

"This decision is and will always remain a result of 12 years of hard work from our citizens, the staff of the Justice Ministry, and specialists. Of course, we are confident that the decision will be fair. Besides compensating our affected citizens-and that will serve as the foundation for further protecting their rights internationally-it will mark the first instance of an international court assessing the 2008 War. Besides, this decision places additional obligations on us as a government, and we must understand that we must, in the nearest future, take concrete steps toward coordinated interagency work seeking the country's de-occupation. And we have a concrete plan in this direction, one that we will present to the public in the near future. I reiterate that this decision marks the first instance when an international court assesses the Russo-Georgian War in 2008, and it must be a new message for the Georgian Government to launch more effective coordinated interagency action toward de-occupation," the Head of Government said.

During today's Cabinet meeting, the Prime Minister endorsed Minister of Regional Development and Infrastructure Maya Tskitishvili to the Office of First Vice Prime Minister in charge of the economic direction.

According to Giorgi Gakharia, one of the key directions of the Georgian Government's action plan is the country's economic empowerment and post-COVID economic recovery, along with continuous structural reforms in the country's economy and macroeconomic stability as crucially important aspects of European integration.

"Today, we are forced to fight in different direction and on multiple fronts, notably the pandemic, global recession. The Georgian Government's action plan features clearly singled out priorities, such as the country's further democratization, economic empowerment, de-occupation, and European integration. But our key goal in achieving European integration aims at continuous structural reforms in the country's economy and macroeconomic stability as crucially important aspects, also all economic reforms and their effectiveness growing extremely important in the next few years. To overcome the global economic crisis, and to make sure that the country is economically ready to apply for full EU membership in 2024, it is necessary to ensure coordinated work in this direction, which is why present to you Maya Tskitishvili, Georgia's First Vice Prime Minister in charge of economic affairs," the Prime Minister said.

Foreign Minister David Zalkaliani will also serve as the Cabinet's Vice Prime Minister. According to Giorgi Gakharia, the Georgian Government prioritizes the country's de-occupation and European integration, and foreign relations are growing increasingly important in light of regional developments.

"It is critically important for us to respond to occupation, to ensure the country's further integration into international organizations, and-above all else-we must be ready in 2024 to apply for full EU membership; also, the country's further NATO integration and, of course, response to occupation and regional developments. That is why, given that deeper bilateral relations with our partners are also vitally important, it only makes sense that Foreign Minister David Zalkaliani will also serve as the Cabinet's Vice Prime Minister. Given the magnitude of responsibility coming with membership of the Georgian Government, it is a double responsibility to serve as Vice Prime Minister. And I am confident that you will rise to the challenge, and your work will prove successful," Giorgi Gakharia emphasized.

Press Service of the Government Administration