President Salome Zurabishvili is visiting Paris on September 26-28, to attend celebrations dedicated to the centennial of the recognition of Georgia’s First Republic by France.
France recognized the Democratic Republic of Georgia on January 26, 1921, nearly a month before the Soviet Red Army took over Tbilisi. Georgian Government left for Kutaisi, and later to Batumi, from where it left the country for France on March 17, 1921.
At a September 26 ceremony in Les Invalides Palace in Paris, President Zurabishvili addressed the history of Georgian immigration to France, following the Soviet Occupation. “The history of Georgia in France is also the history of common French values, the first of which is liberty,” she stressed.
The Georgian President said that both France and Georgia are “inseparable” from their roots “in European Civilization.” Despite being located on Europe’s border, Georgia “was always Europe and always will be,” President Zurabishvili noted. She also stressed that Georgia has no alternatives to joining the European Union.
During the ceremony, President Zurabishvili posthumously awarded Lieutenant Colonel of the French Foreign Legion Dimitri Amilakhvari, a decorated Georgian officer who died in combat for France in 1942, with the title of National Hero of Georgia.
The Georgian President also posthumously awarded The Presidential Order of Excellence to distinguished Georgian emigrants, clergyman Ilia (Eli) Melia and Konstantine Andronikov (Andronikashvili), a diplomat, translator and theologian.