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Georgian FM Meets French, Bulgarian Counterparts in Brussels

Georgian Foreign Minister Ilia Darchiashvili is on May 16-18 visiting Brussels, where he has met French and Bulgarian counterparts Jean-Yves Le Drian and Teodora Genchovska, respectively.

FM Darchiashvili’s trip came after Georgia submitted on May 10 the second, final part of its response to the EU membership questionnaire, all the while chief diplomats and Defense Ministers of the EU member states gathered in Brussels on May 16-17 for Foreign Affairs Council meetings.

In their meeting on May 16, FMs Darchiashvili and Le Drian discussed the next steps in the EU membership applications of the Associated Trio — Georgia, Ukraine and Moldova — and highlighted France’s support for the aspirations of the three states, the Georgian Foreign Ministry reported.

The two diplomats also touched upon the security environment in the South Caucasus region, challenges facing Georgia, and developments in Russian-occupied Abkhazia and Tskhinvali Region/South Ossetia.

Following the meeting with the top French diplomat, FM Darchiashvili told reporters that “in bilateral formats, our partners openly and freely discuss the significance of the European prospects of our country.”

“This enables us to say that our partners will pro-actively back the further integration of our country in the European family,” he added.

Also on May 16, the Georgian and Bulgarian FMs discussed bolstering economic ties especially by developing transit routes, considering the potential of the two countries as Black Sea nations, the Georgian Foreign Ministry said.

The Ministry stated FM Genchovska also gave a “positive assessment” of Georgia’s completion of the EU Questionnaire while expressing Bulgaria’s continued support for Georgia’s European aspirations.

FM Darchiashvili on May 17 also attended the meetings of Georgian PM Irakli Garibashvili, on a separate trip to Brussels, with European Council President Charles Michel and European Parliament President Roberta Metsola.

The trips to Brussels came against the backdrop of concerns among the Georgian opposition that the country’s EU membership bid could be harmed by the May 16 imprisonment of government-critical Mtavari Arkhi TV Director Nika Gvaramia.

Georgia submitted its formal application to join the EU on March 3, following in the footsteps of Ukraine. Moldova followed suit on the same day.

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