“We are looking forward to the EU’s enhanced engagement in promoting peace and security in the region,” Georgian Foreign Minister David Zalkaliani stated. The Minister delivered his remarks at a joint press conference following his meeting with Josep Borrell, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and FMs of Moldova and Ukraine, on June 24, 2021, in Brussels.
“This is a special day for our three countries as it is the first time we come to Brussels together as Associated Trio. We signed a memorandum of understanding a month ago, pledged to work together among three Associated partners, as well as work with the European Union on the matters of our European integration, including through dialogue formats in sectors of common interests. It is also one of the purposes of the Associated Trio to support and strengthen the Eastern Partnership, to better adapt it to specific situations in each partner country.
We will be working together with other Eastern partners and the EU to make the next Eastern Partnership summit another step towards stronger and more effective cooperation. Eastern Partnership is a dynamic policy founded on joint ownership of all participants, and responding the needs, capabilities and aspirations of each participant.
One of the main tasks that bring the Associated Trio together is the implementation of the Association Agreement, which includes the creation of deep and comprehensive free trade areas. The Association Agreements have become blueprints for our democratic reforms as well as reforms aimed at through legal and regulatory convergence of our countries with the European norms, standards and practices. Besides the common goals of European integration, our countries share a number of challenges. We are glad to have an opportunity to discuss them with the High Representative today,” Georgia FM declared.
According to Zalkaliani, the peaceful resolution of the Russian-Georgian conflict needs to be high on the European agenda.
“Unresolved conflicts with Russia remain the biggest challenge for European security as a whole. Russia’s attempted annexation and illegally occupation of Georgian and Ukrainian territories, as well as unresolved conflict in the Transnistria region of Moldova, has posed a serious threat to our security, democracy and economic development. Russia’s actions in the Eastern Partnership region have significantly destabilized Europe’s eastern frontiers. We are committed to the peaceful resolution of these conflicts and looking forward to the EU’s enhanced engagement in promoting peace and security in the region.
I want to thank High Representative for mandating the visits of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of Austria, Lithuania and Romania to Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan. These visits are a very concrete demonstration of the EU’s engagement and firm stance in a peaceful settlement of the conflicts in the region. I hope that these visits will play their part in further increasing the EU’s political role in the peaceful settlement of the Russia-Georgia conflict and facilitation of the EU mediated 2008 ceasefire agreement. The current context of illegal occupation and steps toward de facto annexation of Georgian regions alongside, which has aggravated the human rights situation, can not be accepted. We must continue putting the peaceful settlement of the Russian-Georgian conflict very high on the political agenda of the EU,” Zalkaliani stated.
Georgian Minister focused on the issue of unlawful detention of a Georgian citizen, Zaza Gakheladze.
“Let me highlight the illegal detention of a Georgian citizen, Zaza Gakheladze, who was shot and wounded by the occupation forces and then captured in illegal custody. It demonstrates how the Russian occupation regime disregard even humanitarian issues trying to use them for political purposes. I hope that our European partners will continue to support the sovereignty, democratic development and European integration of our countries. For our side, we are united to advance in all these directions for the benefit of peace, stability and prosperity in Europe,” Zalkaliani added.