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Vatican FM Comes to Georgia, Visits Occupation Line

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Wednesday, October 24
Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher, the secretary for relations with States of the Holy See (Vatican), came to Georgia on 21 October to meet with top Georgian officials and Patriarch Ilia II.

During his days in Georgia Gallagher viewed Mtskheta sights and laid wreath on the memorial of Georgian fallen heroes in Tbilisi.

He also arrived in the Khurvaleti village, near the Georgian Russian-occupied Tskhinvali (South Ossetia) region to speak with locals about the problems they face.

Gallagher held his first meetings with Georgian Prime Minister Mamuka Bakhtadze and Foreign Minister David Zalkaliani.

Bakhtadze stated that the visit will boost productive cooperation between Georgia and the Vatican and will enhance the centuries-old political and cultural ties.

He thanked the Vatican for supporting Georgia’s territorial integrity and sovereignty.

The situation in the Georgian occupied territories was also discussed.

“As was pointed out, Russia must fulfill all of its international obligations, including the ceasefire agreement, and the importance of its constructive engagement in the Geneva International Discussions was also underlined,” the government of Georgia press office said.

Before and after his visit to Khurvaleti Gallagher said that the Russian actions in Georgia are “alarming”.

Locals told him that building of illegal barbed wire-fences and so-called border signs, as well as the permanent abduction of locals, created a harsh humanitarian situation on the ground.