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CoE Secretary General praises democratic reforms

By Tea Mariamidze
Wednesday, February 1
Council of Europe (COE) Secretary General Thorbjorn Jagland positively assessed Georgia’s progress in the implementation of democratic reforms at a meeting with Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili on Tuesday.

The officials discussed Georgia-CoE cooperation, the situation in Georgia's occupied territories, the engagement of the Council of Europe in protecting human rights and trust-building in conflict zones.

Kvirikashvili thanked Thorjorn Jagland for supporting Georgia's ongoing reforms and underlined that the government appreciates its consolidated report - entitled "Conflict in Georgia" and prepared by the Secretary General of the Council of Europe himself - in which the security, human rights, and humanitarian situation in Georgia's occupied territories are described.

Moreover, the sides discussed the 2016-2019 Action Plan for Georgia of the Council of Europe, which has been prepared in close consultation with the Georgian authorities and takes into account the priorities of the reforms in the country.

The Action Plan reflects the most recent findings of the Council of Europe’s monitoring bodies, resolutions and recommendations in respect of Georgia, including those of the Committee of Minsters, the Parliamentary Assembly, the Commissioner for Human Rights of the Council of Europe, the Venice Commission, the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT) and the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities (the Congress).

The meeting at the Governmental Administration was also attended by Cristian Urse, head of the Georgian Office of the Council of Europe, Foreign Minister Mikheil Janelidze, State Minister on European and Euro-Atlantic Integration Victor Dolidze, the Prime Minister's Foreign Adviser Tedo Japaridze and Georgia's Permanent Representative to the Council of Europe, Constantine Korkelia.

Thorbjorn Jagland arrived in Georgia on January 30 on a two-day visit, to hold meetings with Georgian officials and leaders and offer the CoE’s “support to Georgia's constitutional, judicial and media law reforms”.

Constitutional reform processes and the human rights situation in Georgia’s occupied regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia were key topics of the meeting of the CoE secretary General and the President of Georgia, Giorgi Margvelashvili. “We put a lot of emphasis on reform of the judiciary. It is very good to see that they will draw on the expertise of the Council of Europe, which is respected worldwide,” the Secretary General said after the meeting. In Parliament, Thorbjorn Jagland and Parliament Speaker Irakli Kobakhidze spoke about the work of the State Constitutional Commission and its cooperation with the Venice Commission, the Council of Europe’s advisory body for legal affairs. “We discussed the topics related to Georgia’s democratic development and focused on various issues, including those underlined in the PACE Resolution. We also spoke about the ongoing constitutional changes and judicial reform,” said the Parliament Speaker.