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Margvelashvili makes first steps in foreign policy

By Natalie Osipovi
Monday, December 2
Georgiaís newly elected President, Giorgi Margvelashvili, has started his official activity. One of the first steps in his presidential career were some meetings at the European Unionís Eastern Partnership Summit in Vilnius, Lithuania on November 28-29.

Margvelashvili said the visit to Vilnius is a very important step in the international policy of the country, because it brings Georgia closer to Europe and makes the course towards Europe irreversible.

As the Association Agreement was initialed, President Margvelashvili congratulated the Georgian people on this important historic step, saying today we are stepping on a very important road, which in fact will guarantee the achievement of the choice of the Georgian people Ė to become a member of the European family.

During the Summit, Margvelashvili held various meetings together with his delegation. The Georgian delegation was represented by Minister of Economic and Sustainable Development, Giorgi Kvirikashvili, Deputy Foreign Minister Tamar Beruchashvili and Presidentís Chief Advisor for Foreign Relations, Ivane Matchavariani.

During the meeting with his French counterpart, Francois Hollande, Margvelashvili touched the issues of the future cooperation between the two countries. Margvelashvili thanked Hollande for the support demonstrated to Georgia in various spheres. The two presidents also hailed the role played by France to regulate the situation between Russia and Georgia during the Russian military intervention in August 2008. Margvelashvili and Hollande have also mentioned the need of future cooperation in the spheres of business, trade, tourism, agriculture, defense, measures against migration and other directions. Margvelashvili also met with the Prime Minister of the Republic of Slovenia, the President of Poland and the President of Latvia.

The conversation with the President of Latvia, Andris Berzins, started with extending deep condolences and sympathy to the Latvian people regarding the tragedy which occurred in Riga that claimed over 54 lives a few days ago. During the discussion, the two leaders mentioned important issues such as the future bilateral and multilateral cooperation between the two countries.

Margvelashvili also thanked Berzins for the support towards the territorial integrity of Georgia.

The President of Latvia, in his turn, pledged support to Georgia in the process of European and Euro-Atlantic integration.

The main topic of discussion with the President of the European Investment Bank, Werner Hoyer, was the significance of the initialing of the EU Association Agreement and the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area Agreement, also the enhancement of the cooperation in the economic sphere and improvement of the investment in Georgia. According to President Hoyer, the EIB is interested in promoting energy and infrastructure projects and the small and medium business sectors in Georgia, and also, a delegation of the bank will soon make a visit to the country. Hoyer was quite satisfied with the meeting.

During the meeting with Henri Malosse, the president of the European Economic and Social Committee, Margvelashvili discussed the problem of the need of the involvement of the civil sector in Georgia's European integration. They have also touched the issue of the adoption of the Strategy for Communication and Formation of Euro-integration by the government of Georgia. In the framework of the issue of future cooperation, parties mentioned that the EU Eastern Partnership Forum of Civil Society will be held in Georgia in 2014.

The President of Georgia also held a meeting with the President of the European Parliament, Martin Schulz, and the President of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, Sir Suma Chakrabarti. Margvelashvili expressed the readiness of Georgia to carry out reforms inside the country and also to host the EBRD annual meeting in 2015.

"It was a preliminary meeting with the new President of Georgia. We talked about the current intensive partnership with your country. Investments of about 2 billion Euro were made in Georgia over the past 20 years. So this is indeed a very strong cooperation, which we want to continue in the future,Ē Chakrabarti said after the meeting, stressing that there are still many opportunities for joint work between Georgia and the EBRD.