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PM: It’s important we mark 25th anniversary of independence with our European friends

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Friday, April 22
Georgia’s Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili addressed Georgia’s foreign partners in the headquarters building of the Council of Europe (CoE) in Strasbourg on April 20 and stressed it was essential his country celebrated the 25th anniversary of its independence with its European allies.

The PM said in his speech in France that celebrating one of the most important dates in Georgia’s history in the CoE headquarters had a significant symbolic connotation as the building symbolised European democracy, the protection of human rights and the rule of law.

The PM thanked Georgia’s foreign partners for their continued support for his country and expressed hope that future cooperation would be deeper and more comprehensive.

“Due to our partnership it’s very clear that thanks to common values and culture, Georgia has become a country of dynamic and modern democracy,” Kvirikashvili said.

Prior to the speech, the PM met the Secretary General of CoE Thorborn Jagland, who was scheduled to visit Georgia in May to reveal the Georgia-CoE 2016-2019 Action Plan.

After the meeting, Jagland stressed “Georgia-CoE relations have become enhanced over the last several years”.

The CoE official positively assessed Georgia’s pre-election environment and said the country has already invited foreign organisations and observers to monitor the October parliamentary race.

Jangland also praised Georgia for its democratic reforms and stressed the ‘CoE should use all tools to defend the right of the people who live in two occupied regions of Georgia.”

He emphasized Georgia’s occupied regions were on CoE agenda.

For his part the PM spoke about the range of democratic reforms his Government had carried out and informed Jangland concerning the situation in Georgia’s breakaway regions.

Kvirikashvili also spoke about Georgia’s visa-liberalisation prospects with the European Union (EU) and said he had received positive messages from the Parliament of Europe and CoE over the granting of visa-free travel to Georgians.

On another note, Kvirikashvili highlighted the progress in terms of free media and mentioned a recent survey conducted by Reporters Without Borders, which revealed Georgia has improved its free media index by 36 points since the Georgian Dream (GD) government took office in 2012.

In the survey, Georgia was ranked 64th out of 180 states.