The Minister of Foreign Affairs, David Zalkaliani was heard within the Ministerial Hour at today’s Plenary Session of the Parliament.
“The format of Ministerial Hour is an important mechanism for Parliamentary democracy and Parliamentary oversight of the government, which is already playing an instrumental role in strengthening the institutional democracy in the country. I hail our active communication through various mechanisms of Parliamentary oversight”, - David Zalkaliani commented.
The Minister focused on the key directions and challenges facing the country since his appointment as Minister in June 2018. The rapporteur also commented on steps assumed to overcome the challenges and minimize the risks looming over the country.
"I would like the Ministry of Foreign Affairs hereby presented to guarantee peace to every single household, but not armed confrontation, stability, but not constant threat of escalation, thoughtful steps, but not spontaneous decisions, and most importantly, straightforward future with EU and NATO. For this purpose, I will take all the necessary steps, despite the criticism leaking out from the political opponents, as we act according to the mandate of our population and our country stands behind us, for which, likewise for the global community, peace, stability, and development are the most important safeguards to be taken into account", - David Zalkaliani stated.
According to him, Georgia is in a rather difficult geopolitical environment, and the processes taking place in the world naturally have a great impact on the country. Amid this troublesome situation, the Government has managed and with the right and responsible attitude, despite numerous hotspots around the world, brought the issue of Georgia back to the international agenda of the UN Security Council, General Assembly, Human Rights Council, OSCE, Council of Europe, NATO, etc.
As the rapporteur added, strengthening sovereignty and restoration of territorial integrity in a peaceful manner remains to be the paramount goal of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs - "In pursuit of this goal, our Government has set for a peaceful, constructive, rational policy, which is a key prerequisite for the sustainable development of our country thus serving as a direct way to rebuilding trust and relations between the population along the occupation lines", - the Foreign Affairs Minister stated and estimated the way to EU integration to be a key indicator of the success of the Ruling Party.
According to the Minister, Georgia is now regarded as a worthy member of the European family of advanced, democratic development-oriented people - “We will spare no efforts in this direction. That is why we have developed a roadmap for EU integration, serving to prepare the country for a political decision on accession", - the Minister commented.
Pursuant to him, the international conference "Georgia’s European Way” was remarkable in this regard, which, according to him, was unprecedented in its magnitude, high level of participants and supportive statements made towards Georgia.
According to the Minister, the National Action Plan for the Implementation of the Association Agreement and the Association Agenda for 2019 and the 6-month Report on the National Action Plan for 2019 have been developed; Four financial agreements have been concluded between Georgia and the EU, under which Georgia will receive up to 177 ml euros of EU assistance.
As D. Zalkaniani elucidated, Georgia continued cooperation with the EU and partner countries within the framework of the multilateral EaP. Georgia also continued to pursue actions assumed under the document of 20 Deliverables for 2020; It is also important that the EU, together with the Government of Georgia, launched the Innovation Initiative of establishing the European School of the EaP in Tbilisi.
As David Zalkaliani noted, Georgia is also actively involved in the Eu Consultation Procedure aimed at defining a new strategic vision of the partnership and the goals for 2020.
The Minister emphasized Georgia's active participation in EU Framework Programs, cooperation with EU specialized agencies, deepening security and defense cooperation, and enhancing the cooperation in the field of sectoral integration.
David Zalkaliani highlighted the first high-level meeting of the Georgian Government and EU Commission members in Brussels on November 21, 2018.
Harping on the future plans, the Foreign Affairs Minister noted that active efforts would be directed at keeping the issue of Georgia on the EU agenda and making it more salient. As the Minister noted, preparatory works have been launched for the EaP summit in Croatia, which is scheduled for May 2020.
David Zalkaliani also touched upon the meeting with the Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov within the framework of the UN General Assembly. As he elucidated, the recent escalation in the occupied regions was the main reason for the meeting - "Despite the recent developments along the occupation line and the aggressive wave of “borderisation”, we have mobilized the full force of all the international community institutions, and this process is straightforward ensuring the prevention of further complications”, - David Zalkaliani commented.
As the Minister noted, the current situation was the main topic of discussion at all high-level meetings of the UN General Assembly, where the partners offered to discuss the possibility of resorting to the UN format while discussing these issues with the Russian Federation.
"The initiative was pioneered by Switzerland, and its feasibility was discussed with allies and partners, including at a meeting of the Transatlantic Council, where EU Foreign Ministers and the US Secretary of State were present. All of them clearly stated the need of the dialogue around the current situation”, - David Zalkaliani reported.
The Minister condemned the speculations claiming that the meeting had not been announced in advance - "At the outset of our visit to the United Nations, we were openly declaring that our partners were constantly discussing how to resort to the UN format as to de-escalate the tense situation in Georgia", -D. Zalkaliani stated and noted that his decision on the meeting had been voiced in the media the day before.
Pursuant to David Zalkaliani, the Georgian side raised all the pressing issues, first of all, occupation of Georgian territories, the situation in the occupied territories and the recent developments at the meeting with Sergey Lavrov. However, the meeting didn’t define any possibility for creating some new formats of talks or revising the existing one.
The MPs asked questions to the Minister on various issues including: Russian-Georgian relations, territorial integrity, meeting with Russian Foreign Minister, the case of David Gareja, etc.