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PM: Georgia is a loyal ally

By Tea Mariamidze
Tuesday, September 2
Georgia is a loyal ally of the United States and Europe, regardless of which party is in power, Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili said on Monday at the International Leaders Forum in Tbilisi.

“European and Euro-Atlantic integration is essential for Georgia. Our firm decision is to come closer to the United States and Europe. European and Euro-Atlantic integration is our way to return to the European family, with which we have common history, culture and values. The Association Agreement signed between the European Union and Georgia, as well as our ties with NATO once again emphasizes these relationships,” PM Gharibashvili said.

According to him, the government appreciates Georgia’s close strategic relationships with the United States and Europe.

The Prime Minister stressed that the new government has conducted multiple reforms in order to meet international standards. Gharibashvili also commented on the 2016 elections. According to him, the era of rigged elections is over in Georgia.

“My team will have to earn every vote during the parliamentary election in 2016,” Gharibashvili added. He admitted that the government’s toughest and most complicated challenge is that it must end the legal impunity among government officials.

"Sadly, many government officials in previous administrations and even my own have treated the state like their own possession,” he said.

“That must never be allowed to happen again and those responsible most be held accountable by our justice system,” Gharibashvili added.

The president also made a speech, stating that all young democratic states are facing serious challenges currently.

Parliament Speaker Davit Usupashvili shifted attention on the signing of the Association Agreement with the EU, stating that the agreement reveals the country’s wish to be the part of the democratic world.

Foreign Minister Maia Panjikidze and Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration Alex Petriashvili made comments over the newly adopted visa regulations.

From September 1, no citizen can stay in Georgia for 360 days.

Georgia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has announced visa-free travel with Georgia had been revoked for 24 countries. However, citizens from 94 countries were eligible to enter Georgia without a visa for a 90 day period.

The Ministry launched a webpage - on September 1, where foreign citizens can visit to read all the details of Georgia's new visa requirements and other consular information.

Panjikidze and Petriashvili claim that the new regulations aimed at meeting EU standards. Meanwhile, the UNM members keep criticizing the government for the new tough visa rules, explaining that it will have a negative impact on tourism and investment in the country.