Georgian president leads minute silence for Nice victims at Batumi Conference
15 July 2016

The President of Georgia, Giorgi Marghvelashvili, led participants at the conference "Georgia's European Way", currently taking place in Batumi, in a minute of silence in respect to the victims of the terrorist attack that took place in Nice last night. The dignified moment was marked by the hundreds of delegates from Georgia, the European Union and beyond that are currently participating in the Batumi event.

Speaking at the Conference, President Marghvelashvili positively evaluated the current stage of Georgia's relations with the European and Euro-atlantic institutions. Marghvelashvili said that Georgia is satisified with what it had achieved in the latest NATO summit in Warsaw. A strong bilateral agenda has now been agreed between Georgia and NATO with tangible support for Georgia in key areas of defence. The summit had also responded to a long standing Georgian concern related to the situation in the Black Sea, the president added. He also said that the summit also showed that there was now in NATO a good understanding of the threats from hybrid war,including in the area of information.

President Marghvelashvili said that Georgians have always had a European outlook, but now this was being given expression in institutional and political frameworks. The Association Agreement with the EU and DCFTA free trade framework were important pillars in this process. President Marghvelashvili said that even on visa liberalisation it is now accepted that this not a question of if, but when. It would have been nice to have had this agreed by now, but Georgia was also aware of the wider processes going on in the European Union. As a country that aspires to be part of the EU Georgia accepts that it needs to not only enjoy the benefits, but needs also to be patient as the EU deals with its own problems.

Speaking on the forthcoming parliamentary elections in Georgia, President Marghvelashvili said he was surprised that the political parties were not already campaigning more actively. The elections, the President said, need to be another step forward in Georgia's democratic evolution. For this to happen there needs to be free media, a properly organised electoral process, and proper debate on the various policy issues. He emphasised the need that there should be no violence in the election process, and said that he was pushing for results in investigations after an incident several weeks ago.

The Conference, Georgia's European Way is organised by the State Ministry for European and Euro-atlantic Integration of Georgia and concludes later today.


photo: Georgian President Giorgi Marghvelashvili (archive picture)