President of Georgia attends Eastern Partnership summit in Prague
By Ana Robakidze
Monday, April 28
President of Georgia, Giorgi Margvelashvili visited Prague to participate in a summit dedicated to the 5th anniversary of the Eastern Partnership Program. The summit was opened by the President of the Czech Republic Miloa Zeman and the European Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighborhood Policy, Stefan Fule.
The President of the Czech Republic personally hosted Margvelashvili and the leaders of the delegations of nine other countries in his palace.
The main goal of the two-day summit, which was opened on April 24th, was to assess the progress achieved by the Eastern Partner countries and to highlight challenges and the future prospects of the Eastern Partnership.
On April 25th, at the conference titled was "Eastern Partnership: Five-Years Later: Time for a New Strategy?" Margvelashvili addressed the panel. In his speech the president focused on the noteworthy progress achieved by Georgia in cooperation with the European Union.
“I am stating with pride that Georgia has achieved notable success from the point of view of the opportunities given within the Eastern Partnership Initiative. We will sign the Association Agreement, including the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area agreement no later than June of the current year. The Association Agreement is the major plan for Georgia’s modernization,” Margvelashvili said.
He also spoke about the situation in Ukraine and said the recent crisis in Crimea has raised concerns in regards to peace and security in the region and now it is time for the EU to recognize the European perspective of the partner states and to protect the European future.
At the end of the event, state leaders held a joint press conference to summarize the summit. President of the Czech Republic presented to the media a four-point document adopted by the leaders.
The document emphasizes the progress the Eastern Partnership countries have achieved towards visa-free travel to the EU. It also includes recommendations for Ukraine and Russia.
In the document, the leaders call on the parties for a peaceful resolution of the conflict, and advise Russia to withdraw its military troops from Ukraine.
President Zeman expressed his readiness to act as a mediator in the process of conflict resolution.
Speaking about Ukraine, Margvelashvili said what has happened in Crimea is a continuation of the Georgian tragedy in 2008.
“We do think that what happened in 2014 in Ukraine, what has happened in Crimea, is unfortunately the continuation of the tragedy that took place when Russian troops occupied two regions of Georgia. We do see the parallel there, but at the same time, we see the reality that unfortunately politicians in the Russian Federation have not been given an effective response, that would take this plan off the Kremlin agenda. They have not been given an effective response during the last six years since 2008,” the Georgian president said.
After the press conference, the President of Georgia held a meeting with the EU Commissioner Stefan Fule. He also had bilateral meetings with state leaders and with the Ukrainian Foreign Minister Andri Deshchytsia. The parties discussed bilateral relations and Russian factor in the region.
Deshchytsia thanked the President of Georgia for supporting Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity.