Stef Blok, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands, who is visiting Georgia on January 22, met with his Georgian counterpart Davit Zalkaliani earlier today, hailing the two countries’ “longstanding and excellent bilateral relations.”
“Our strong trade relations play important role. The Netherlands is Georgia’s 12th biggest trade partner and its second biggest foreign investor,” Blok said at a joint press briefing following the meeting, adding that this shows “confidence in Georgia’s economy and future opportunities.”
According to the Dutch FM, Georgia is also an important country in terms of security, rule of law, human rights and democracy, and that the country “has truly become an example” for the region, “due to hard work and reforms.”
I therefore look forward to free and fair parliamentary elections later this year. In the run-up to these elections, let me underline the importance of raising above divisions and maintaining inclusive political dialogue,” Blok said, noting that this would make Georgia “stronger as a democracy, and as a nation.”
The Dutch FM also said that the Netherlands “is and will continue to be an ally in Georgia’s reform process.” He said, Georgia’s reform efforts “are especially impressive considering the difficult security situation the country is in.”
Expressing his “full support” to Georgia’s independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity, Stef Blok said the Netherlands “remains deeply concerned by the recent developments in the Georgian regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia,” especially in terms of human rights situation on the ground.
Blok added in his remarks as well that internationally, the Netherlands highly values Georgia’s efforts as NATO partner and “strong EU-Georgia relations” through the Eastern Partnership (EaP).
Warm welcome ?? FM Block to Georgia ??. Happy to host H.E. after 10-year gap. Visit reflects current dynamics in bilateral relations & will contribute to further boosting existing partnership ties ?@ministerBlok pic.twitter.com/Vx3Aqh19ns— David Zalkaliani (@DZalkaliani) January 22, 2020
On his part, Davit Zalkaliani noted that at the today’s meeting the two FMs stressed importance to further deepen political dialogue and sectoral cooperation, including on security, trade and people-to-people relations.
Today, Stef Blok traveled to the occupation line near village Odzisi adjacent to Tskhinvali Region/South Ossetia together with the Acting Head of the European Union Monitoring Mission (EUMM), Kate Fearon.