Deputy Prime Minister, Foreign Minister David Zalkaliani, held meetings with foreign counterparts and officials on February 19-20 at the margins of the Munich Security Conference, where he also participated in a panel discussion on the South Caucasus region.
On February 20, FM Zalkaliani met his Ukrainian counterpart Dmytro Kuleba to express solidarity to Kyiv amid Russia’s military build-up in and around Ukraine, the Georgian Foreign Ministry said.
The two officials underlined their shared experiences of armed confrontation and occupation vis-a-vis Russia and stressed the importance of international support in reducing tensions and preventing military intervention in Ukraine, according to the same report.
According to the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry, the top diplomats also focused on deepening cooperation within the formats of the Associated Trio of Ukraine, Moldova, and Georgia and the GUAM Organization for Democracy and Economic Development.
Other issues, such as upcoming political consultations between Ukraine and Georgia as well as protecting the rights and interests of jailed ex-President Mikheil Saakashvili — currently a Ukrainian citizen — were also raised in the discussions, the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry said.
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Developments surrounding Ukraine loomed large in FM Zalkaliani’s meeting with the OSCE Secretary General Helga Schmid on February 19, where the two officials discussed the complicated security environment and the challenges facing the OSCE area.
In particular, they touched upon the crisis surrounding Ukraine and the need for international efforts to prevent further escalation of the tensions, according to Georgian Foreign Ministry’s press release.
The sides also paid attention to the situation in Georgia’s Russian-occupied Abkhazia and Tskhinvali Region/South Ossetia and to frequent provocations by Russia, that according to the statement threaten the daily lives of local residents and their long-term security.
FM Zalkaliani also met with his Slovenian colleague Anže Logar on February 19. The two officials discussed trade and economic relations as well as the security environment in the region, particularly the crisis surrounding Ukraine.
Speaking about Georgia’s occupied regions, the Minister highlighted the importance of the international community’s response to provocations by the Kremlin-backed authorities, the Foreign Ministry said.
On February 19, the top Georgian diplomat also discussed the occupation-induced dire security and humanitarian situation in Abkhazia and Tskhinvali region with Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher, the Secretary for Relations with States of the Holy See.
FM Zalkaliani on February 19 also participated in a panel discussion on the South Caucasus region along with his Armenian counterpart Ararat Mirzoyan, Azerbaijani Energy Minister Parviz Shahbazov, the OSCE Secretary General Helga Schmid and World Bank President David Malpass.
Speaking about the South Caucasus region, FM Zalkaliani highlighted the transit and energy potential of the region, including in terms of connectivity with the European Union, the Foreign Ministry stated. He stressed that the close cooperation of the three countries with the EU would allow the region to demonstrate its full potential
FM Zalkaliani attended the Munich Security Conference on February 18-20 alongside Defense Minister Juansher Burchuladze as part of the Georgian delegation led by Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili.
The three officials held several meetings with their foreign counterparts and business leaders on the sidelines of the conference.