102 years ago today, on May 26, 1918, Georgia proclaimed itself an independent Democratic Republic. The short-lived Georgian Democratic Republic was occupied by the Soviet Russia in February-March 1921 and was later absorbed into the Soviet Union. The country declared its independence to be restored later on April 9, 1991, based on the May 26, 1918 independence declaration.
Foreign leaders from across the world extended their congratulations to Georgia on its National Day.
The United States President, Donald Trump: “On behalf of the American people, I send my sincere greetings and congratulations on the anniversary of your Independence Day, May 26. For decades, the United States and Georgia have enjoyed a strong partnership rooted in shared values and interests.
The United States deeply appreciates and respects Georgia’s investment in strengthening its defense capabilities, including its significant contributions to NATO’s Mission in Afghanistan, where Georgian soldiers serve together with U.S. and NATO forces.
We remain firmly committed to Georgia’s territorial integrity and sovereignty within its internationally recognized borders, and we will continue our steadfast support of Georgia as it seeks NATO membership.
Our partnership will continue as we cooperate to overcome the unprecedented COVID-19 global pandemic. We also firmly support democratic and economic development in Georgia, which is essential to fulfill the Georgian people’s aspirations of Euro-Atlantic integration.
I look forward to working with you to help Georgia consolidate its democratic institutions and embrace political pluralism, strengthen the rule of law buttressed by an independent judiciary, and diversify its economy. I extend Georgians my warmest wishes for a productive, secure, and prosperous future.”
The United Kingdom, Queen Elisabeth II: “It gives me great pleasure to send Your Excellency my warmest greetings on the celebration of your National Day, together with my best wishes for the people of Georgia in the coming year.”
“დიდი სიხარულით გილოცავთ ეროვნულ დღესასწაულს. საუკეთესო სურვილებით თქვენ და საქართველოს მოსახლეობას”.
მისი უდიდებულესობა დედოფალ ელისაბედ მეორის მოლოცვა.
— UK in Georgia (@UKinGeorgia) May 26, 2020
France, President Emmanuel Macron: “[Letter has been addressed to President Zurabishvili] On the occasion of the national holiday of Georgia, I send wishes of happiness and prosperity to you and the Georgian people. The health crisis that we experience right now will have economic and social ramifications, posing a major challenge for every country. As I mentioned during our phone conversation on May 7, cooperation between our countries has contributed to the response [to the pandemic] at this time.
You can count on the French support. Increased lending by the French Development agency to Georgia will allow for implementing reforms that were undertaken by your country in the sectors of health, social protection and energy – all of which fits [our cooperation agenda.]
France and Georgia have long enjoyed friendly, privileged, and trustful relations. The level of our cooperation was further stepped up via Dimitri Amilakhvari dialogue [platform], which was launched during your visit to Paris in February, 2019 and that opened its first session in Paris last December.
During following months, we shall deepen our relationship in the domains of training and youth [issues], as the Franco-Georgian university is due to open its doors this autumn.”
Israel, President Reuven Rivlin: “On behalf of the State of Israel I have the honor and the pleasure of congratulating Your Excellency on the occasion of the Independence Day of Georgia. Allow me to wish you and the people of Georgia a future of ever growing development, prosperity and peace.
We, in Israel, are very pleased about the good relations and cooperation between our two countries that is founded in a very long history of some 2,600 of Jewish life in Georgia. The strong community of former Georgians in Israel and the Jewish community in Georgia also represent an important link between our two countries.
The ties between the Georgian nation and the Holy Land also found expression in the visit to Jerusalem in the thirteenth century by your great national poet, Shota Rustaveli, who is buried here at the Monastery of the Cross in Jerusalem. Israel and Georgia share a common destiny today, as we are two ancient peoples who have new and independent countries. The growing mutually beneficial cooperation in trade, education, culture and tourism between Israel and Georgia is very encouraging.
Last year some 200,000 Israeli tourists visited your beautiful country (the largest number of tourists from any single country not former members of the USSR). We are now making every effort to ensure that Israel will be the first to sign a tourism and air travel agreement with Georgia following the Corona pandemic.”
— Orbeliani Presidential Palace (@OrbelianiPalace) May 26, 2020
Foreign Ministry of Ukraine:
We extend our warmest congratulations to the friendly people of #Georgia on the occasion of the #IndependenceDay! Best wishes of peace, well-being & prosperity. დამოუკიდებლობის დღეს გილოცავ, საქართველო! @MFAgovge pic.twitter.com/q1gfkCDM46
— MFA of Ukraine 🇺🇦 (@MFA_Ukraine) May 26, 2020
Foreign Ministry of Poland:
— Ministry of Foreign Affairs 🇵🇱 (@PolandMFA) May 26, 2020
Foreign Minister of Lithuania, Linas Linkevičius:
მთელი გულით ვულოცავთ ქართველ ხალხს დამოუკიდებლობის დღეს! pic.twitter.com/K2aFShtJnP
— Linas Linkevicius (@LinkeviciusL) May 26, 2020
Foreign Ministry of Latvia:
— Latvian MFA (@Latvian_MFA) May 26, 2020
Foreign Ministry of Kazakhstan:
— MFA Kazakhstan 🇰🇿 (@MFA_KZ) May 26, 2020
Foreign Ministry of Estonia:
— Estonian MFA 🇪🇪 (@MFAestonia) May 26, 2020
Foreign Ministry of Azerbaijan:
We wish strong health, success, and everlasting prosperity to the friendly people of Georgia. pic.twitter.com/ieEdJX8v5A
— MFA Azerbaijan 🇦🇿 (@AzerbaijanMFA) May 26, 2020
Foreign Minister of Armenia, Zohrab Mnatsakanyan:
Warm congratulations to #Georgia, its people and Government celebrating #IndependenceDay. We strongly value the #Armenia🇦🇲-#Georgia🇬🇪friendship forged in history, based on common values & continued positive dynamics of partnership & coop
გილოცავთ დამოუკიდებლობის დღეს! pic.twitter.com/Lgnign5Kc0
— Zohrab Mnatsakanyan (@ZMnatsakanyan) May 26, 2020
Ambassadors of the U.S., United Kingdom, European Union and Israel, Kelly Degnan, Justin McKenzie Smith, Carl Hartzell and Ran Gidor, respectively, have also extended their best wishes to Georgia on its Independence Day.
This year’s Independence Day celebrations in Georgia differed from the previous years as the coronavirus-related restrictions are still underway throughout the country, which, among others, ban large public gatherings.
Georgian President Salome Zurabishvili, Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia, Parliament Speaker Archil Takakvadze and Defense Minister Irakli Garibashvili addressed the nation at the Vaziani base outside Tbilisi.