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Georgian and Ukrainian Presidents meet in Kiev

By Natalia Kochiashvili
Thursday, June 24
After the welcoming ceremony at the Presidential Palace of Ukraine, a face-to-face meeting between President of Georgia Salome Zurabishvili and President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky was held, followed by an extended meeting. The state delegation accompanying the President of Georgia included representatives of her administration and the government.

According to the President of Ukraine, the visit of the President of Georgia to Ukraine is important for strengthening the strategic partnership between the two countries, adding the political dialogue between Kiev and Tbilisi is gaining new momentum.

“I reaffirm Ukraine's support for Georgia's sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognized borders,” the Ukrainian President said at a joint news conference with. He also thanked Georgia for supporting Ukraine's territorial integrity and condemning Russian aggression, and expressed hope for active cooperation with the Georgian side within the framework of the Crimean platform to protect the rights of Crimeans and de-occupy the peninsula.

On her part, Zurabishvili promised to start working regarding this issue after her arrival and choose representatives of Georgia in the establishment of this platform. According to her, today, Georgia and Ukraine are united not only by centuries-old friendship, but also by parallel tasks and common goals.

“This is the de-occupation of our countries and territories, the path to the EU and NATO, the increase of bilateral and regional cooperation,” she said, reiterating the harsh situation in occupied territories of Georgia and mentioning the case of Georgian citizen Gakheladze, who has been detained by occupation forces.

She also mentioned the importance of taking bilateral relations to a new level, recalling the institutional framework in every direction - the Supreme Strategic Council, which covers economy, politics, security and culture.

As Georgian President announced, a number of declarations have been signed on investment protection or in the field of culture. “Tourism was growing before the pandemic, and we have hopes that this trend will be even stronger. Also, the trade turnover should be strengthened, it should reflect the friendly relations between us.” Zelensky emphasized that Georgia is an important trade partner for Ukraine in the South Caucasus region.

According to him, Ukraine and Georgia have joint European aspirations and both countries should take care of energy security.

“I believe that the friendly relations between our countries will traditionally continue in the future, will develop in the interests of Georgia and Ukraine, as well as in the interests of peace and security in the United Europe,” he said.

Zurabishvili stated that the upcoming Batumi conference is a very important part of the progress of the Eastern Partnership program, on which important topics will be discussed. Georgian President also recalled the NATO Summit on June 14th which reaffirmed the open door policy towards Georgia and Ukraine.

“Our task is to strengthen the areas of cooperation on the path of integration. This refers to cybersecurity and Black Sea security, which will be discussed within NATO. We are always welcome when ships from our NATO partners arrive at our ports. These are also very important steps in terms of security,” Zurabishvili stated.

As Zelensky informed, the meeting also touched upon the return to the homeland of the citizens who are in prisons in Georgia and Ukraine - “the legal procedures are already underway and these people will return home in the near future.”

During her visit to Kiev, Zurabishvili will also meet with Prime Minister Denis Shmigal and Parliament Speaker Dmitry Razumkov.

This is the first official visit of the President of Georgia to Ukraine in the last 15 years. Relations between Georgian and Ukrainian governments soured in May 2020, after Zelensky appointed Georgia’s third president Mikheil Saakashvili as Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Reform Council. The Georgian government then said that the appointment of convict Saakashvili to office raised questions. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs summoned Ambassador Sharashenidze from Kiev to Tbilisi for consultations, who returned to Ukraine in April 2021 after almost a year.