Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal met his Georgian counterpart Irakli Garibashvili on June 3, after arriving in Tbilisi in the early hours of the day to begin his first Georgia visit.
In a joint press conference after the meeting, PM Garibashvili stressed that Ukraine and Georgia face “common challenges, such as threats emanating from Russia and the dire effects of occupation.” The Georgian PM said he expressed “deep concern” over recent developments on the Ukrainian border and confirmed Tbilisi’s support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.
Dubbing the recent establishment of the Associated Trio format by Georgia, Ukraine and Moldova “a serious political statement,” PM Garibashvili highlighted that the countries are determined to become European Union members.
The Georgian PM recalled that the Allies decided during the 2008 Bucharest Summit that Georgia and Ukraine will become NATO members, and the two countries have since “made significant progress on this path.”
Moving on to economic relations, the Georgian leader underscored that Ukraine is “one of the main trading partners of Georgia,” adding that the two PMs agreed to set a goal of doubling the trade turnover between the countries. PM Garibashvili said they also discussed transport, logistics, and tourism at the meeting. Tbilisi and Kyiv “have all the means” to further deepen bilateral cooperation, he stressed.
PM Shmyhal, on his part, highlighted that Georgia and Ukraine share common goals, including Euro-Atlantic integration. NATO and EU membership of the two countries is only a matter of time, he added.
The Ukrainian PM argued both governments are doing everything in their power to meet relevant membership criteria, pointing at the Eastern Partnership and the freshly-established Associated Trio format, which he said highlight the countries’ membership commitments.
The Ukrainian Prime Minister stressed that Russia’s destabilizing actions in the Black Sea region mean that Georgia and Ukraine must cooperate more closely in the field of security, also with the involvement of NATO member states.
PM Shmyhal also expressed hope that Tbilisi and Kyiv will work effectively within the Crimea Platform framework, with the aim of de-occupying the peninsula. He said, Ukraine, on its part, will co-author projects under the United Nations General Assembly resolution, involving the withdrawal of illegally deployed Russian military formations in Georgia’s occupied regions and on the status of displaced persons and refugees.
Noting that Ukraine and Georgia have significant transit potential, PM Shmyhal said the two leaders agreed to focus on the development of international transport corridors and freight shipments between their Black Sea ports. He added that energy security is to become a key issue of cooperation, with the two officials agreeing to promote green energy and energy efficiency.
PM Shmyhal is set to meet Parliament Speaker Kakha Kuchava and Georgian Orthodox Patriarch Ilia ll before concluding the visit on June 4. The Ukrainian PMs’ visit coincides with the arrival of U.S Senators Jeanne Shaheen and Rob Portman to the Georgian capital.
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