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Georgia achieved progress in recent years

By Tea Mariamidze
Tuesday, January 31
Council of Europe (COE) Secretary General Thorbjorn Jagland congratulated Georgia on the progress that it has achieved in recent years at a press-conference held in Tbilisi after he met Georgia’s Foreign Minister, Mikheil Janelidze.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs reports that the sides discussed COE-Georgian cooperation within the framework of the visit. The situation on Georgia’s occupied territories and involvement of the council in human rights protection in Georgia’s occupied Abkhazia and South Ossetia Regions was one of the key issues of the meeting.

“We join your common policy to create a solid state and also to have a good security policy with the outside world,” Jagland said at the press-conference, adding that the COE supports implemented reforms in Georgia.

The COE Secretary General expressed satisfaction that the Government and the Parliament of Georgia are working closely with the Venice Commission, ”the most respected institution in the world”.

Jaglad also spoke about the situation in Georgia’s occupied regions and said that the COE would be everywhere, where people need to secure their rights.

"It is very important for us to be on the ground and be able to describe what is happening there. We will do our best in this regard. In our consolidated accounts, published twice a year, we will continue to work in this direction,” Jagland stressed, and added that it would be better if the COE had a chance to constantly monitorthe situation in the occupied regions of Georgia.

Moreover, the COE Secretary General condemned Russia’s destruction of a multi-layer archeological and architectural monument during the construction of a military base in the Tsebelda village, Gulripshi District, Abkhazia.

He said that the COE would do its best to stop this process.

"We are now working on a new international convention. It will have the form of an international law, and it will prohibit illegal trade with art pieces and antiquities,” Jagland said.

Georgia’s Foreign Minister thanked the COE Secretary General for visiting Georgia and underlined that the government appreciates its relationship with the Council of Europe.

“Georgia has done a lot of work to get closer to European standards. We appreciate the EOC’s positive assessment of the reforms implemented in Georgia, including the October parliamentary elections,” said Janelidze.

He said that the face-to-face meeting with Thorbjorn Jagland was very fruitful.

“We discussed co-operation between Georgia and the Council of Europe, including in the implementation of the Action Plan for Georgia 2016-2019,” said Janelidze.

The Secretary General will also meet the President of Georgia, Giorgi Margvelashvili, Prime-Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili and the Chair of the Parliament of Georgia, Irakli Kobakhidze.

Georgia became the 41th member state of the Council of Europe in 1999, and the country has signed and ratified 72 Council of Europe Conventions and made serious efforts to translate the standards of the Council of Europe into national legislation and practice.

The COE reports that an 2016-2019 Action Plan has been developed in order to continue the support of Georgia in the domestic implementation of the European Convention on Human Rights and the case law of the European Court of Human Rights, as well as to further assist the country in bringing its institutions and practices in line with the Council of Europe’s standards.