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A Year of Progress for Georgia’s Foreign Policy

By Etuna Tsotniashvili
Wednesday, December 29
Georgia’s president Mikheil Saakashvili assessed the foreign policy of Georgia in 2010 as on “the stage of a significant breakthrough.” The president’s press speaker Manana Manjgaladze voiced his report on December 28th. The most noteworthy events include the UN Resolution, NATO Parliamentary Assembly, Obama-Saakashvili meeting and other presidential visits as well as meetings with other foreign high officials. “I would like to highlight U.S. Secretary Hilary Clinton’s visit and the term, which was established after her visit to Georgia – this term is "occupation," which maybe considered as a step forward in country’s de-occupation process,” Manjgaladze said. She also emphasized the Saakashvili-Obama meeting, held at the Lisbon summit and the Peaceful Initiative which president Saakashvili voiced to the European Parliament on the 7th anniversary of the Rose Revolution on November 23rd, 2010. Expressing the readiness of the Caucasus to establish European peace, the Georgian President offered to start peaceful negotiations with Russia and added that Georgia will never use armed forces for restoring its territorial integrity and sovereignty or against the occupiers or their puppets, even if the UN regulations give Georgia the right to do so. “This is not an easy initiative for a country, which has its territories occupied and over 500,000 IDPs on the ground, even if Russia refuses to withdraw its troops from the occupied territories,” Saakashvili told the MEPs in Strasburg.

The Press Speaker commented on security issues and said that security remains as one of the challenges for Georgia and the major reason for that is Russia. “Unfortunately when we are speaking about challenges we have to speak about our occupied territory which remains the most important issue for the country’s leadership. Despite the fact that our peaceful initiative lacks an adequate answer from the Russian side, we are ready to start a dialogue with Russia about the problematic issues which exist between our two countries. Unfortunately Moscow continues its destructive actions which can be seen in its divertive acts as well as spy scandals,” Manjgaladze said.

While assessing Georgia’s foreign policy in 2010, Foreign Minister Grigol Vashadze claimed that the UN Resolution was the collapse of Russian diplomacy. According to him, the Lisbon NATO summit was also very important. “The Summit and Obama-Saakashvili meeting was the event of the year for me. The two countries have a close relationship in all realms. The meeting agenda was very significant too. The UN Resolution was also of special importance. The General Assembly once again confirmed that the World Community is united against the actions of the Russian Federation and this won’t change. The Russian diplomatic corps will have to take this bitter pill every year now and I assure you that their failure during the General Assembly is especially painful for Russia,” Vashadze stated on December 27.

Vashadze talked about EU-Georgia relations, saying that several agreements have been signed during the year including visa facilitation and readmission agreements. “We have finished internal procedures and now we are waiting for the EU to finish its procedures regarding this issue. European parliament has already ratified them and the agreements will come into force no later than March,” Vashadze said.

According to the Minister, Georgia’s MFA made considerable efforts to establish diplomatic relations with the U.S., Africa and Asian States in 2010. The year was also significant from point of view of international agreements. Vashadze said 67 international agreements were signed in 2010.

“Despite economic difficulties, we opened three new embassies in Brazil, Portugal and Mexico. Three new embassies will be opened next year in Africa and two others will be announced at a later time,” Vashadze said.

The Minister underlined that the problem of territorial integrity was the most topical and painful issue on the agenda. Vashadze said that activities in this direction would be intensified next year.

He said the activities of the ministry were focused on the defense of Georgian interests abroad; these activities included 37 visits in various states, 67 visits of his deputies, 70 bilateral consultations on various levels. Georgia established diplomatic ties with 23 countries; today the country has contacts with 145 out of 191 UN member states. Georgia signed 67 international agreements throughout 2010.

“If we assess 2010 in one sentence, I can say that we are not well, but we are better,” Vashadze stated.