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Czech Foreign Minister pledges support to Georgia

By Mzia Kupunia
Monday, May 16
Czech Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg visited Georgia on May 12-14. The Minister met his Georgian counterpart, Grigol Vashadze in the frames of the visit. According to the Georgian Foreign Ministry, Zchwarzenberg expressed Czech Republic’s support towards Georgia’s territorial integrity and sovereignty. The Georgian Foreign Minister thanked his colleague for his “active support” of Georgia’s European and Euro Atlantic integration process. Speaking at a joint press conference with Vashadze, the Czech Foreign Minister said the two countries are linked with “special relations” as both of the states have experienced occupation in the past. “This automatically creates the sense of solidarity between the countries,” Schwarzenberg noted.

At the meeting with the Georgian President, Mikheil Saakashvili, the sides discussed mutual political and economic relations, President’s administration reported. Saakashvili and Schwarzenberg talked about deepening the cooperation between the two countries in the future. The Georgian President thanked the Czech diplomat for “actively supporting” Georgia and for participating in the EU Monitoring Mission.

The Czech diplomat visited the villages of Shida Kartli close to the administrative border with Tskhinvali region together with the Georgian IDPs Minister, Koba Subeliani. “The situation was almost the same in our region 30 years ago, so we understand each other,” Schwarzenberg noted. The two Ministers opened a mobility center for the migrants who have returned to Georgia. According to the IDPs Ministry, the aim of the center is to provide the return and reintegration of the Georgian illegal migrants to Georgia. “The main goal of the mobility center is to substantially help the Georgian citizens returned to their homeland in the frames of a readmission treaty – it will provide professional trainings, employment and medical consultation,” Subeliani told journalists “the center will offer temporary shelters to the migrants if needed. The citizens of Georgia who have returned from abroad will have to get some financial aid to start small businesses,” he added.

The Czech Foreign Minister, who was accompanied by a group of Czech businessmen participated in Georgian-Czech business forum in frames of the visit. “I brought many companies with me, the most important companies in the Czech Republic. They will get introduced with the situation in Georgia and then we will begin discussions with their partners,” Schwarzenberg said.

Speaking at the business forum, the Georgian Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development, Vera Kobalia outlined the reforms carried out in Georgia in the recent years, before speaking about Georgia’s “progress” in terms of combating corruption, easing the business launching procedures and the reduction of taxes. She touched upon the trade relations between the two countries as well. “The trade turnover between Georgia and Czech Republic is growing, but right now the Czech side is interested not only in energy products, but also construction projects. It is especially important that they expressed interest in agriculture projects and we hope that in the next several days, when they travel around Georgia and see different places, they will have even more interest and will open new Czech-Georgian enterprises,” the Minister stated.