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Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond visited Georgia

Thursday, March 31
The Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond visited Georgia on 30 March, he met with Prime Minister of Georgia Giorgi Kvirikashvili and expressed his support for Georgia and its Euro-Atlantic aspirations.

During his visit, the Foreign Secretary had talks with the Prime Minister, members of the Georgian government and the Speaker of the Georgian Parliament. He laid the wreath at the Heroes Memorial in Tbilisi.

He attended the Young Politicians Forum that brought together future leaders from the South Caucasus region.

The Foreign Secretary also visited the construction site of the BP’s South Caucasus pipeline expansion which, along with the Shah Deniz 2 project would bring a significant investment of ?20bn to the region.

The Foreign Secretary attended a ceremony to commemorate honorary MBE Mrs Marina Tsitsishvili for services to UK-Georgian cultural and educational relations.

Speaking ahead of the visit, Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said:

“The UK is committed to Georgia as a valuable international security partner and democratic role model in the region. The UK and Georgia enjoy a long history of bilateral relations and we welcome their progress in implementing economic and political reforms as they aspire towards closer relations with the EU and NATO.

We have not forgotten that Georgia’s conflicts in Abkhazia and South Ossetia remain unresolved. The UK is committed to supporting Georgia’s independence and territorial integrity. We have always been clear that countries like Georgia should be able to make their own sovereign choices, free from outside interference.

2016 marks the 25th year of Georgia’s independence. We hope that elections in October will underline all the democratic progress that has been achieved in the years since independence.”

First ever Georgian National to receive an honorary Member of the Order of British Empire, MBE award
Marina Tsitsishvili, President of the Georgian Branch of the English Speaking Union was awarded an honorary MBE in the Queen’s News Year Honours List, for services to UK-Georgian cultural and educational relations. She will be the first ever Georgian recipient of a British honorary award.

British Ambassador HE Alexandra Hall Hall hosted an event at the Embassy.

The award is a recognition of Marina Tsitsishvili’s work to promote English culture and language in Georgia, including through establishing and becoming President of the Georgian Branch of the English Speaking Union; organising an annual English language Public Speaking Competition; founding a non-profit International Centre for Cultural and Business Relations to facilitate exchanges of students, statement and journalists between the UK and Georgia; supporting medical exchanges; and last year opening a school, performing arts centre and cafe in Tbilisi to promote the English language, British culture and cuisine, known as “The British Corner” in Vake Park.

Speaking about the occasion, the British Ambassador to Georgia Alexandra Hall Hall said:

“Words cannot express how delighted I am to be able to congratulate Marina on this award. It is people like Marina who lay foundations for friendships between countries. She is a real role model of dedication and loyalty to both our countries. It is particularly fitting that this award for strengthening cultural and educational relations between UK and Georgia, came in the year when Georgia celebrates Rustaveli’s 850 year anniversary and the UK marks 400 years since Shakespeare’s death”.