Georgian Foreign Minister Mikheil Janelidze and his German Counterpart, Sigmar Gabriel, opened the Georgia-German Year on April 26 in Berlin.
Georgian-German 25 Years of relation
By Tea Mariamidze
Friday, April 28
The event was attended by around 500 invited guests from Georgia and Germany.
The Georgian and German Foreign Ministers appeared before an audience, highlighting the importance of the year of friendship and years of close co-operation and partnership between the countries.
The Ministers welcomed the 25th anniversary of establishment of diplomatic relations between Georgia and Germany emphasizing that in the course of 200-year history of relations Germany has become Georgia’s genuine friend and close partner.
Prior to the opening of the Georgian-German Year, Janelidze and Sigmar Gabriel made statements at a joint press-conference.
“We want to ensure that co-operation between Georgia and Germany grows into a deep partnership,” Janelidze said.
He noted that that Germany has made an important contribution to Georgia’s institutional and economic transformation.
“The potential for the strengthening of links between Georgia and Germany has never been as strong as today and we should use this opportunity,” the Georgian FM added.
Janelidze and Sigmar Gabriel welcomed the activities planned in Georgia and Germany within the framework of the German-Georgian Year. The importance of Georgia’s participation under the Guest of Honor status in the International Book Fair was also highlighted.
“Germany was the first to recognize Georgia’s independence in April 1992 and to open its embassy in Tbilisi… we support Georgia’s rapprochement with the EU and appreciate Georgia’s tremendous reform efforts on this path,” the German Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs said.
Sigmar Gabriel said that granting visa-free travel to Georgian citizens is a common success for both Georgia and the EU.
The German Foreign Minister expressed his gratitude towards Georgia’s participation in international peacekeeping missions, singling out the bravery of Georgian soldiers serving at the Mazar-e-Sharif military base in Afghanistan, who repelled a terrorist attack on the German Consulate last November.
He also highlighted the importance of the Georgian-German year lasting for 18 months instead of 12, and will comprise over 130 joint meetings and projects.
“This will make clear how rich and diverse our relations are. A very eventful year is ahead of us,” Sigmar Gabriel said.
Within the framework of his visit to Germany, Janleidze also met the Chairman of the Bundestag Committee on Foreign Affairs, Norbert Rottgen.
Both men spoke about Germany’s significant role in Georgia’s European integration process and in granting Georgia visa-free travel with the EU. It was emphasized that Georgia, as a responsible partner, supports the EU and European partners in addressing the challenges currently facing Europe.
Discussions also focused on the situation in Georgia’s occupied regions. The Georgian side thanked Germany for its support of Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity in all available formats.
The sides also agreed to further develop co-operation within the parliamentary dimension.
The conduction of the NATO parliamentary Assembly in Georgia in May 2017 was assessed as a demonstration of the political support for Georgia by the Chairman of the Bundestag Committee on Foreign Affairs.
Moreover, the Georgian FM also held a meeting with Chancellor Angela Merkel's foreign and security policy adviser, Christoph Heusgen.