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PM Ivanishvili meets PACE President

By Ana Robakidze
Tuesday, April 23
Georgian Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili is taking part in the spring session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE). On April 23, the PM will address PACE and hold bilateral meetings during his visit, which will end on April 24.

On the first day of his visit, Ivanishvili met with PACE President Jean-Claude Mignon. Parties discussed the obligations Georgia has before the Council of Europe. The PM said at the meeting that constructive dialogue and deeper relations with the EoC is of the highest importance for Georgia.

At a joint press-conference held after the meeting, Mignon said every democrat is welcomed at Strasburg. He also touched upon the planned speech Ivanishvili will deliver at the session and said that the MP will have to answer some questions PACE members have about the latest events that are ongoing in Georgia.

Georgia will speed up fulfilling all obligations it has before the CoE, Ivanishvili said at the press conference, once again emphasizing the country's aspiration to become a full member of the European family and integrate with the European Union. The Georgian PM revealed that apart from the relations with Europe, Georgian–Russian relations were also discussed at the meeting with President Mignon, who is going to visit Georgia at the end of May 2013.

The Georgian delegation to Strasburg includes lawmakers, from both the Georgian Dream Coalition and United National Movement (UNM) and members of the Georgian government. Georgian MP Tina Khidasheli told Georgian journalists in Strasbourg that the statements over holding a full-scale meeting between the Georgian and Russian delegations do not correspond to reality. The delegations of the two countries announced their decision to hold a full-scale meeting in January at a session of PACE.

According to Khidasheli, in his speech Ivanishvili will speak about the new reforms his government has begun on the courts and the constitution, as well as Georgia’s relationship with the CoE. “A large part of Bidzina Ivanishvili’s address will be about the court and constitutional reforms,” she said, adding that the MP will focus on the Georgian Dream’s plans and its democratic reforms.

Members of the Georgian delegation say there is a great interest in Georgia. “This is the first visit (of the new government) in Strasburg, it's natural that there is a great interest to hear about the reforms that are carried out in the country” MP Eka Beselia said.

According to the head of the International Committee of Russian Duma, Alexey Pushkov, the Russian delegation to PACE intends to ask the Prime Minister of Georgia questions on the change of foreign policy of the Georgian leadership towards Russia. "We are going to ask him a question about to what extent he is going to change Georgia's foreign policy in particular towards Russia, because so far, all the official statements of the Georgian authorities are in line with the policies, which were carried out by Saakashvili," RIA Novosti quotes Pushkov.

The PM's office reports that Ivanishvili will also meet with Council of Europe Secretary General, Thorbjorn Jagland; Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, Nils Muiznieks; Secretary General of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities, Andreas Kiefer; President of the European Court of Human Rights, Dean Spielmann and Venice Commission President, Gianni Buquicchio.