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Bakradze addresses European Parliament

By Salome Modebadze
Tuesday, January 26
David Bakradze, Chairman of the Parliament of Georgia, held his first meeting with the Chairman of the House of Representatives of the European Parliament as part of his official visit to Brussels on January 25.

The Georgian Parliamentary Delegation left for Brussels to hold meetings at NATO headquarters, EU and the European Parliament on January 23. “It is a very high-ranking visit for the Georgian Parliamentary Delegation, which is lead by the Chairman of Parliament,” Davit Darchiashvili, Chairman of Parliament's European Union Integration Committee, stated.

Davit Bakradze delivered a speech at an enlarged session of the European Parliament`s Foreign Relations Committee in which he highlighted the situation in Georgia's occupied territories, relations with Russia, issues of state security and the internal political reforms in the country. “It is our obligation to provide our European colleagues with information about Georgian-Russian relations, especially as they refer to the occupied territories. We will also definitely talk about the reforms in Georgia and economic issues,” Bakradze told the media.

The Georgian authorities say that such high-level meetings will produce particular results despite the strained relations between Georgia and Russia. Bakradze will also hold a meeting with Anders Fogh Rasmussen, the NATO Secretary General, on January 27. “The annual national action plan is an important stage for Georgia. Priorities for 2010 are to be established within the framework of NATO-Georgia relations so that Georgia can fulfill obligations defined by the alliance and become closer to Euro-Atlantic structures,” military analyst Nika Chitadze told the media.

Paata Davitaia, the Deputy Chairman of Parliament from the opposition, discussed the issue of the Georgian occupied territories with European colleagues during a political group meeting at the winter session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) in Strasbourg on the same day. “I discussed with the European Liberals and Democrats the issue of Georgian passport holders being forced to adopt Abkhaz and Russian passports in the Akhalgori and Gali regions. This is a violation of their rights and a breach of humanitarian law,” Davitaia said at the meeting. He also expressed his discontent with Russia’s non-fulfillment of the resolutions of the EU and the Council of Europe which condemn its felonious activities and impose specific obligations upon it.

The Council of Europe has adopted two resolutions concerning the Russia-Georgia issue since the August war. Georgian-Russian relations will also be discussed at the spring session of PACE. The winter session opened on January 25 and will last until January 29. Delegates will elect the new Head of PACE and discuss the possible reforms of the Council of Europe.

“The Chairman and other members of the group said that they will pay particular attention to Georgian-Russian relations next time. The information I gave them proved important, especially before the spring session, as I managed to convince them that Russia is disobeying Council of Europe instructions,” Davitaia told the media.