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The News in Brief

Monday, November 18
Obama congratulates Georgia's incoming President

On the eve of the inauguration of Giorgi Margvelashvili, U.S. President Barack Obama congratulated Georgia and praised the role of outgoing President Saakashvili and outgoing PM Ivanishvili for "strengthening" the country’s democratic institutions.

“On behalf of the American people, I congratulate the people of Georgia as they celebrate the inauguration of a new President and mark the first time a presidential transition has taken place as the result of a peaceful, democratic election. I extend my warm congratulations to President Giorgi Margvelashvili on his inauguration day,” Obama said in a statement on November 16.

“The path to this day was marked by the contributions of many distinguished political leaders over the past twenty years, including outgoing President Mikheil Saakashvili and Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili, who have both played a vital role in strengthening Georgia’s democratic institutions, together with civil society and the people of Georgia. We appreciate what these two leaders have accomplished during their respective tenures and look forward to working with their successors to continue the strong and deep bonds that the United States and Georgia have enjoyed for over twenty years,” reads the statement.

“Georgia is making significant progress in consolidating democratic institutions, including through its commitments under the Open Government Partnership and its promotion of women’s participation in public life, and is moving forward on the path to fulfilling its Euro-Atlantic aspirations.”

“As we mark this momentous political transition, I call on all of Georgia’s political leaders to work together, and continue to work with civil society, to build on this achievement,” President Obama said in the statement.

NATO Secretary General sends letter to Saakashvili

NATO Secretary General has sent a letter of gratitude to the outgoing president of Georgia. Anders Fogh Rasmussen thanked Mikheil Saakashvili for the good cooperation with the Alliance over the past years.

"I highly value your commitment to Georgia’s democratic transformation and Euro-Atlantic Integration. During your term in office, Georgia has become a special partner for NATO thanks to its commitment to reforms and its remarkable contributions to the ISAF operation. Let me once again express the allies’ deep appreciation for Georgia’s efforts as the largest non-NATO troop contributor nation to ISAF,” NATO Secretary General wrote and wished success to Mikheil Saakashvili in his future endeavors.
(Rustavi 2)

Appathurai calls cooperation with Georgia a success

All the reforms conducted in Georgia under the leadership of Defense Minister Irakli Alasania received NATO's positive assessment, NATO Secretary General's Special Representative for the Caucasus and Central Asia, James Appathurai said in Tbilisi after the meeting with Georgia's Defense Minister. Appathurai arrived in Tbilisi for the president's inauguration.

"We have just completed the annual assessment of the national program, which got a positive evaluation. We also discussed the issues of future cooperation in Afghanistan. We are preparing for the support mission and as far as I know, Georgia will participate in it. Georgia also intends to join the NATO Response Force. Many issues of cooperation with Georgia are carried out successfully," he said.

Appathurai congratulated the Georgian people with holding the exemplary presidential elections on October 27.

"I would like to congratulate the whole Georgia and the Georgian people with this result. These elections were free, fair and democratic. This is what the member states of NATO expected from Georgia. I would like to congratulate Georgia with this result on behalf of them," he said.

Alasania in turn thanked Appathurai for arriving at the inauguration.

"This is a sign of great respect to our newly elected president and reaffirms that our relations with NATO are irreversible and we will become the alliance's member in the future," he said.

During the meeting the parties discussed the reforms in the sphere of defense, as well as the issues of future Georgian-NATO cooperation.

The parties also talked about Georgia's contribution to the peacekeeping mission in Afghanistan (ISAF). According to Alasania, Georgia is ready to participate in the support mission in Afghanistan after 2014 and join the NATO Reaction Force.

Georgian FM visits Brussels

Georgian Foreign Minister, Maia Panjikidze, met EU Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy Stefan Fule in Brussels on November 14 to discuss preparations for the initialing of the Association Agreement at the Eastern Partnership summit in Vilnius later this month.

“They agreed that after the initialing of the Association Agreement… the focus will shift to the importance of Georgia remaining on track for the signature of this agreement next year and continue with reforms needed for its implementation,” Commissioner Fule’s office said in a press release after the meeting.

“They also discussed the recent presidential elections which have marked further progress on Georgia's democratic credentials. With the period of cohabitation between president and prime minister from different political camps coming to an end Commissioner Fule stressed that it was vital that Georgia remains a pluralistic democracy with effective checks and balances, further strengthening democratic institutions and promoting constructive relations between the ruling coalition and opposition.”

Commissioner Fule reiterated EU’s concerns over ‘borderization’ activities along the administrative boundary lines of Georgia’s breakaway regions.

Also on November 14 Panjikidze met Deputy Secretary General of the European External Action Service Helga Schmid, according to the Georgian Foreign Ministry.

Saakashvili awards over 1,000 people before leaving his post

Mikheil Saakashvili awarded over 1,000 people the day before leaving the post of the country's president. According to his Facebook page, Saakashvili presented medals to the Former head of Adjara Autonomous Republic's government, Levan Varshalomidze and Tbilisi mayor Gigi Ugulava.

According to Saakashvili's press service, "he devoted the last day of his presidential office to the outstanding people". Over 1,000 people, including the representatives of the Georgian Armed Forces, journalists, scientists, pedagogues, artists, ecclesiastics, leaders of CIS countries, former politicians of the U.S., including former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and many others were awarded on November 16.