Danish Foreign Minister Jeppe Kofod met today with Georgian President Salome Zurabishvili, Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili, chief diplomat David Zalkaliani and lawmakers in Tbilisi.
The Danish Minister, in his meetings with the Georgian leaders, discussed Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, regional security challenges, Georgia’s EU membership bid, and the situation in Russian occupied Abkhazia and Tskhinvali Region/South Ossetia.
“Russia’s aggression has not derailed us from our path toward Europe. The new window of opportunity is the EU’s rightful answer to this aggression,” the Georgian President told the chief diplomat of Denmark.
Speaking about Georgia’s occupied regions with the Minister, President Zurabishvili also stressed the importance of the European Union Monitoring Mission (EUMM) and expanding its monitoring area, the Presidential Administration reported.
On his part, the Danish top diplomat reaffirmed support for Georgia’s aspirations and stressed the country belongs in the European family, the report said.
Also on March 31, PM Garibashvili with the Danish diplomat expressed his hope for the international community’s support for Tbilisi’s EU membership bid, the Georgian Government said in a press statement.
“On part of Denmark, it was noted that Georgia will have full backing in this regard,” the release noted.
At the Georgian Parliament, FM Kofod was accompanied by a bipartisan delegation of Danish lawmakers, including Foreign Affairs Committee chair Bertel Haarder.
They met with Foreign Relations Committee Chair Nikoloz Samkharadze, his first deputy Giorgi Khelashvili, and deputies Mariam Lashkhi of the Georgian Dream and Davit Zilpimiani of European Socialists, as well as independent lawmaker Grigol Vashadze and United National Movement’s Ramaz Nikolaishvili.
Also on March 31, the Danish and Georgian top diplomats during their meeting condemned the proposed “referendum” in occupied Tskhinvali Region/South Ossetia over “unification” with Russia, according to the Georgian Foreign Ministry’s press release.
Press Remarks by Georgian, Danish FMs
In a press briefing after the meeting, FM Zalkaliani focused on Russia’s war against Ukraine, stressing the Danish diplomat’s visit amid the hostilities “was another confirmation of the support and solidarity” Georgia enjoys from its partners and the EU states.
The top diplomat said they discussed “what can be done for the international community to be united and active so that the aggression and war stop, so that there is an opportunity for the world to return to an international agenda based on principles of international law.”
Speaking about the Russian occupation, FM Zalkaliani also touched upon the recently proposed “referendum” for Tskhinvali Region/South Ossetia to join Russia.
“It is unacceptable to discuss any referendums while Georgia’s territory is occupied by Russia,” he highlighted, going on to stress that any such vote would not have legal force “against the backdrop of hundreds of thousands of our citizens being expelled from their homes.”
Besides, he stressed that the Georgian Government will not be “dragged into provocations,” and will remain committed to its policy of peaceful de-occupation. MORE.
“We saw yesterday the announcement of a possible referendum in South Ossetia and again, we see the Russian troops on Georgian territory,” Danish FM noted on his part. “We stand with you, we will fight for democratic Georgia with you, we will be a partner in the reforms process.”
“We will stand together with you and others that hold international rules and democratic values dear,” Minister Kofod added.
In his speech, the Danish FM also denounced “[President Vladimir] Putin’s illegal war against Ukraine, aggression, war of conquest.”
He said that Denmark fully supports the “tough sanctions and coordinated diplomatic outreach” in response to the war in Ukraine. “We will do more. We are not yet done. We will not stop until Putin has stopped the war in Ukraine.”
“I am grateful, and I want to emphasize that, for Georgia’s support in the international fora, at United Nations, Human Rights Council,” the diplomat noted, adding, however: “We strongly encourage Georgia also to align itself with the EU sanctions.”
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