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Italy’s Foreign Minister in Georgia

By Tea Mariamidze
Tuesday, November 8
The Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation of the Italian Republic, Paolo Gentiloni, arrived in Georgia on November 6 and held meetings with Georgian top officials.

It was the first visit of a high-ranking European official to Georgia after the country’s October 8 Parliamentary elections.

Gentiloni held his meeting with his Georgian counterpart Mikheil Janelidze.

The officials emphasized the importance of cooperation between Georgia and Italy in directions of economy, energy and culture. Special attention was paid to the economic and business cooperation and the growing potential in this field.

The officials also discussed new opportunities created under the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement (DCFTA)signed between Georgia and the European Union (EU).

Moreover, the ministers overviewed Georgia’s Euro-integration path and visa-liberalization process with the EU. The significance of Italy’s support to Georgia’s joining North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), was also underlined.

The face-to-face meeting was followed by a joint press-conference for reporters and the Ministers delivered speech at the public discussions - Italian-Georgian Relations and the Future of Europe. The meeting was jointly organized by the Georgian Foreign Ministry, the Italian Embassy to Georgia and the Georgian Foundation for Strategic and International Studies (GFSIS).

Georgia’s Foreign Minister underlined that Georgia is an important platform for doing business in the region.

“We have very good results in economic relations between Georgia and Italy; the trade turnover between the two states has increased by 30%. Many Italian companies are represented in Georgia at present, including energy and infrastructure fields,” said Janelidze.

The Italian FM noted that in order to better introduce Georgia to Italian companies, a special forum was scheduled for the next year.

“Next year we will hold a business forum in Italy in order to introduce Georgia to Italian producers. We will present them Georgia as an attractive country for doing business. Georgia has done a lot to give these opportunities to European countries, "Gentiloni noted.

The Italian Official reiterated his support towards Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and noted that Italy would never recognize Georgia’s occupied territories by Russia- Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

“We have never recognized the so-called republics,” remarked Gentiloniand added that Italy maintains a pragmatic approach between the west and Russia confrontation.

Moreover, Italian FM said that it was important for the EU and NATO to maintain relations with Russia, as it is “a big and important neighbor of the EU”.

“A pragmatic approach towards Russia is necessary and should be continued…in terms of Georgia we should recognize its territorial integrity and sovereignty. In terms of Ukraine, it means the adoption of measures which will be very important,” said Gentiloni and added that further steps of Italy depend on actions of Russia.

Italian minister also met President of Georgia.

The sides agreed to deepen cooperation in various fields, including culture, science and education.

The Italian FM paid tribute to the memory of those Georgians who died for the unity of their country and laid a wreath at the Fallen Heroes Memorial.