UK Foreign Secretary Cleverley Visits Georgia
The Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs of the United Kingdom, James Cleverley, is on an official visit to Tbilisi where he has already met with the Prime Minister of Georgia, Irakli Garibashvili; Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ilia Darchiashvili and representatives of civil society. James Cleverley also visited the occupation line in Tskhinvali region.
Meeting with the Prime Minister
He met with Prime Minister of Georgia, Irakli Garibashvili on March 17. According to the Government Administration at the meeting the sides highlighted the “Wardrop Strategic Dialogue” between the two countries, which covers the whole spectrum of cooperation and further strengthens the cooperation under the Strategic Partnership and Cooperation Agreement. The sides stressed the importance of fully utilizing the cooperation potential across many fields.
Garibashvili thanked Cleverley for his support to Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and his contribution to strengthening Georgian state institutions and democratic development. The sides also discussed the security environment and challenges in the region and the world.
Meeting with FM Darchiashvili
During the meeting with Foreign Minister Ilia Darchiashvili, the two sides discussed a range of issues relating to the strategic partnership between the UK and Georgia, based on their historic ties and shared values. They also discussed cybersecurity, with Minister Darchiashvili expressing his gratitude for UK’s support to Georgia in this area. He emphasized the importance of cybersecurity in an era of hybrid threats and noted that the UK is a valuable partner in strengthening Georgia’s capacities in this area.
At a press conference following the meeting, Ilia Darchiashvili, expressed his appreciation for the UK’s strong support for Georgia’s territorial integrity and sovereignty. “The visit of James Cleverly, is particularly significant in light of the existing regional challenges, and reaffirms the important support and strategic partnership between the two states, as well as the UK’s willingness to actively engage in the region” he stated.
James Cleverly reiterated UK’s firm support for Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and appealed to Russia to fulfill its obligations under 2008 cease fire agreement.” He said: “…We are working closely with you to strengthen your resilience to Russian interference and that is why we continue to support your Euro-Atlantic aspirations. A strong and united NATO is vital to our security in Europe and beyond. That’s why we agreed a Tailored Package of support for Georgia in 2022.”
“Our bilateral defense cooperation goes beyond military cooperation and includes joint work on cyber security and countering disinformation…” -he added. “To anchor you democracy and strengthen democratic institutions, against those who seek to undermine them, we urge you to strengthen your commitment to media freedom, civil society and the independence of the judiciary” – said Cleverly at the press conference.
Meeting with CSO representatives
Cleverley also met with representatives of civil society organizations and watchdogs in Georgia. The discussion focused on the importance of a flourishing civil society and free media for a functioning democracy.
The executive director of ISFED, Nino Dolidze, told the “TV Formula” that during the meeting they spoke “in detail” about various issues, including the recent developments in Tbilisi and the introduction of the Russian bill, as well as the issue of its withdrawal.
“Also, in general, in the country, on the space of civil organizations and the media, to what extent this space is being narrowed, attacks, including on organizations and individuals personally,” she noted, adding – “he saw very well that the media and civil organizations are not on anyone’s side. They are and stand on the guard of the Western interests of the country. That is why we are being attacked”.
Sergi Kapanadze, a representative of the NGO GRASS, noted that “all important” issues were discussed at the meeting, including “the situation in the media, the attack, the case of Nika Gvaramia, and political prisoners”.
“We talked about the tools that the government is using to concentrate power, to strengthen the informal rule, and to stifle all critical voices, be they the opposition, the civil sector, or the media. We also talked about the attacks that may continue in the future, which can be seen in their rhetoric ….. Demonization, division of society…” he said.
- 24/11/2022 – Rishi Sunak: United Kingdom Stands with Georgia
- 30/06/2022 – UK Pledges More Funds to Protect Georgia from Russian Cyber Threats
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