UK Minister for European Neighborhood and the Americas MP Wendy Morton arrived in Tbilisi from Baku on February 15, where she already met Prime Minister (PM) Giorgi Gakharia, Parliament Speaker Archil Talakvadze and Foreign Minister (FM) David Zalkaliani.
At the meeting, Georgian PM Giorgi Gakharia discussed the “dire humanitarian situation” in Georgia’s Russian-occupied territories and the arbitrary detentions near the occupation line, highlighting the recent sentencing of Georgian citizen Zaza Gakheladze.
The two also discussed Georgia’s role in the wider Black Sea region, and the importance of UK support, including in cybersecurity and addressing hybrid threats.
MP Morton on her part said she discussed with the PM Gakharia “how Georgia can make a difference to building a fairer, greener and more resilient economy following the pandemic.”
During the meeting with Georgian Foreign Minister David Zalkaliani, the sides discussed UK-Georgia bilateral relations, including the Wardrop Strategic Dialogue, and the Strategic Partnership and Cooperation Agreement between the two countries.
FM Zalkaliani and the UK Minister also reviewed ongoing processes in the region, including the Black Sea region’s security, the situation in Georgia’s Russian-occupied territories, as well as cybersecurity cooperation.
Minister Morton stated that she discussed how the UK and Georgia can build on their existing success in cyber security cooperation and tackle disinformation “to counter hostile activity in the region” with FM Zalkaliani.
Moreover, at the meeting with the Georgian FM, the UK Minister outlined the importance of continuing and expanding political and trade relations between Georgia and the UK.
I was delighted to reinforce the strong Parliamentary connections between the UK & Georgia in my meeting today with Speaker @A_Talakvadze. We agreed that a strong Parliament is the cornerstone of a thriving democracy. 🇬🇧 🤝 🇬🇪 pic.twitter.com/O3qvKO2H6i
— Wendy Morton MP (@morton_wendy) February 15, 2021
UK Minister Wendy Morton also met Parliament Speaker Archil Talakvadze, who presented the legislature’s foreign policy resolution, adopted in December last year. The document assigns to all Governmental branches “to strive for the EU and NATO membership.”
The Parliament’s press service said that the parties also highlighted Georgia’s contributions to global security, including in combating international terrorism, organized crime, and cyber threats.
The UK Minister reaffirmed the UK’s “unwavering support” for Georgia’s western aspirations, territorial integrity, and sovereignty, as the press service reported.
Minister Morton today also visited the National Crisis Management Center, established with the UK support. “We remain committed to Georgia’s security and defense,” she remarked afterwards.
UK Minister Wendy Morton will also meet Education Minister Mikheil Chkhenkeli, and travel to Odzisi village, the site of one of the five crossing points connecting the occupied Tskhinvali Region/South Ossetia to Georgia proper.