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Former Polish President hails “positive changes” in Georgia

By Mzia Kupunia
Monday, May 17
Serious positive changes have occurred in Georgia since 2001, former President of Poland Aleksander Kwasniewski said during his visit to Tbilisi on Saturday. He was speaking to journalists after a meeting with Georgian Minister of Reintegration Temur Iakobashvili, at which he discussed the situation in Georgia’s occupied regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia and Georgia’s relations with Russia, other countries in the region and the EU.

“I visited Georgia in the capacity of Polish President in 2001 and I would like to note that serious positive changes have occurred here since then. It is noticeable,” Kwasniewski said. However, the former President pointed out that “some problems still remain.” “But there are prospects for resolving those problems. For Georgia, just like all other states, the main way to solve problems is to develop democratic and civil society institutions,” Kwasniewski stated.

“I am happy to be here. I have known the Georgian President for years and he has invited me to Georgia several times,” he noted. “I am surprised by the changes here. When I got out of the plane and looked around, I saw an amazingly lit, beautiful city. I have received an invitation to visit Batumi as well, which I last saw in 1983. I believe a lot has changed in that city as well,” the ex-President stated.

Reintegration Minister Temur Iakobashvili said that the visit of the former Polish President is important in terms of exporting the “right” information about Georgia to Europe. “The main subject of discussion was Georgia’s occupied territories. We introduced Kwasniewski to the Georgian Government’s plans to address the problems there,” Iakobashvili said after the meeting. “We also talked about the practical part of the Georgian Government’s policy, and what we think is the role of European Union in all these issues,” he added.

Later on Saturday the ex-Polish President met Georgian Foreign Minister Grigol Vashadze. According to the Georgian Foreign Ministry, Vashadze told Kwasniewski the main priorities of Georgia’s foreign policy and discussed Georgia’s “progress” in NATO and EU integration and the situation in Georgia’s occupied regions.

If Georgia has “the will, intention and good international relations” it will become a “successful” state, Kwasniewski said after his meeting with the Georgian Foreign Minister. “If we look at our history, the breakthroughs and significant progress made in Poland over the last 20 years, a lot of things have changed in our country during these years: it has become an important part of Europe and is now a respected member of the European Union,” the ex-President said. “I hope and believe that you are also going in the same direction. Nothing is impossible. If you have will, intention, good international relations and diligence, Georgia will become one of the successful states,” Kwasniewski noted.