Sweden’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Ann Linde is visiting Georgia in her capacity as the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office (CiO) on February 16, where she met with Georgian President Salome Zurabishvili, Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia, Foreign Minister David Zalkaliani, Parliament Speaker Archil Talakvadze and civil society representatives.
The OSCE Chairperson-in-Office said before arriving in Tbilisi that her visit would serve to reaffirm OSCE support to Georgia in resolving conflicts and strengthening institutions, areas in which “women and civil society can play a key role.”
At the first meeting on the OSCE CiO’s agenda, with the Georgian Foreign Minister, the parties discussed conflict resolution, “a pivotal issue of Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity,” as FM Zalkaliani said.
OSCE Chairperson Ann Linde highlighted that active engagement in resolving the Russo-Georgian conflict is a key priority of Sweden’s 2021 OSCE Chairpersonship, the Georgian Foreign Ministry reported.
The Ministry’s press service said the top diplomats also discussed Russian cyberattacks and disinformation campaigns, including against Georgian state bodies and the Lugar Center.
Afterwards, the OSCE CiO met Parliament Speaker Archil Talakvadze, discussing the humanitarian situation in the Russian-occupied territories of Tskhinvali Region/South Ossetia and Abkhazia, as reported by the legislature’s press service.
OSCE Chairperson Ann Linde also held a meeting with local civil society representatives on conflicts in Georgia and South Caucasus, highlighting women’s “meaningful participation” in the peace processes.
Later today at the OSCE Chairperson’s meeting with Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia, the sides discussed Georgia’s democratic reforms, as well as regional developments, the Government Administration’s press office said. PM Gakharia highlighted arbitrary detentions near the occupation line, including the recent sentencing of Georgian citizen Zaza Gakheladze.
The OSCE CiO, accompanied by the European Union Monitoring Mission, also paid a field visit to the Didi Khurvaleti village, adjacent to the Russian-occupied Tskhinvali Region/South Ossetia dividing line.
Meeting President Salome Zurabishvili, OSCE Chairperson Ann Linde reiterated the call for increasing women’s participation in peace processes. “Hope Georgia will continue to be a positive example,” she added.
President Zurabishvili, on her part, voiced an initiative to hold in Georgia a conference involving women leaders, to discuss the conflicts in the region. The President’s press service said that the parties talked about Georgia’s electoral system as well.
OSCE Chairperson Ann Linde also met today State Minister for Reconciliation and Civic Equality Tea Akhvlediani.