Georgian Parliament Speaker Kakha Kuchava has concluded his October 5-7 visit to Kyiv, where he met Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal, and attended the inauguration ceremony for a memorial of the Babyn Yar massacre.
Georgian Parliament’s press service reported on October 7 that Speaker Kuchava and PM Shmyhal discussed Russian occupation, trade and tourism ties, Euro-Atlantic integration as well as the detention of former Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili, a citizen of Ukraine, in Tbilisi.
Speaker Kuchava noted after the meeting they discussed ambitious plans, such as a USD 1 billion “boost in trade between our countries,” and highlighted the “rapidly expanded tourism sector.”
As for the former President’s detention, the Parliament Speaker said Saakashvili’s departure from Ukraine, where he serves as the Chair of Executive Reform Committee, to Georgia was a significant source of embarrassment” for the two countries.
But, the parliamentary chairperson stressed that “both parties unambiguously stated that no one, even the former President, can be the reason for the deterioration of our nations’ long-standing relations.”
Continuing on the issue, Speaker Kuchava stressed Ukrainian authorities were completely unaware of Saakashvili’s ambitions to “leave Ukraine and illegally cross the borders of Georgia.” The Parliament Speaker added they did not discuss Saakashvili’s extradition to Ukraine during the meeting.
On its part, the Ukrainian PM’s press service reported that the two officials discussed common European integration and Euro-Atlantic aspirations, in particular within the framework of the Eastern Partnership initiative.
Highlighting dynamics of bilateral economic cooperation, PM Shmyhal pointed out at the meeting that trade turnover between the two countries increased by about 30% in the first half of 2021, and expressed hope the positive trend will continue.
He also touched upon boosting tourist flow between the states, stressing the need for increasing the number of scheduled flights between the cities of Ukraine and Georgia.
Continuing on European integration, PM Shmyhal noted “providing a European perspective for Ukraine and Georgia will make a significant contribution to strengthening stability in our region, ramp up mutual resilience to challenges and threats, and will further deepen the partnership between our states.”
Speaker Kuchava on October 6 attended the inauguration of a memorial of the victims of the Babyn Yar massacre in Ukraine during the Second World War, a ceremony hosted by President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and attended by Israeli President Isaac Herzog and German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier.
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