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Angela Merkel and Mamuka Bakhtadze, August 23, 2018. Photo: facebook.com/GeorgianGovernment

Chancellor Merkel Visits Tbilisi, Meets Georgian Leaders

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who is visiting Tbilisi on August 23-24, met today with Prime Minister Mamuka Bakhtadze, discussing the two countries’ economic ties, as well as their political cooperation in bilateral and multilateral formats.

At a joint press conference with PM Bakhtadze, Merkel recalled her previous visit to Tbilisi held shortly after the Russo-Georgian War, and noted that Germany would further contribute to peaceful conflict resolution.

“I stand for Georgia’s territorial integrity, and whatever we can do to solve the conflict with view to the people, Germany will try to contribute,” Angela Merkel said, adding that President Vladimir Putin is aware of her position that what is happening in Georgia “is injustice.”

Merkel then said she is in “active communication” with Moscow on other issues, including on Ukraine and are trying to resolve the conflict, but “unfortunately, despite our efforts we do not have big progress there as well.” “All I can tell you now is that we will not forget this injustice and we will contribute so that the issue stays on the agenda,” she added.

The German Chancellor spoke on Georgia’s EU integration as well, saying the Association Agreement and the DCFTA are examples of “intensifying” cooperation. Merkel also said she is aware of Georgia’s aspirations, but “at this stage, we are in a phase when we are depening the existing instruments [of cooperation].”

On his part, PM Bakhtadze said Georgia is proud to be Germany’s “reliable partner,” including in international military missions, and that the two countries have “common interests” in enhancing bilateral cooperation.

“With Chancellor Merkel, we have discussed the situation in Georgia and the prospects for peaceful conflict resolution,” Bakhtadze added, stressing that the support of Germany, “Georgia’s devoted ally,” is especially important in the process.

PM Bakhtadze also stressed that Georgia is not only a European country, but also a country that has contributed to forming “the common European civilization and values,” and that its European choice is a civilizational one.

Today, Angela Merkel, who is accompanied by officials and businesspeople, held a meeting with President Giorgi Margvelashvili as well and laid a wreath at the Heroes Square in Tbilisi.

Tomorrow, the German Chancellor is scheduled to meet with opposition parties and university students. She will also travel to the occupation line and talk to the German soldiers who participated in the U.S.-led Noble Partner military exercise.

Merkel is visiting Georgia as part of her trip to the South Caucasus. On August 24 and August 25, she will be travelling to Armenia and Azerbaijan, respectively. The trip comes less a week after her meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Berlin.

This post is also available in: Georgian Russian

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