On September 22, Georgia’s Prime Minister, Irakli Garibashvili, delivered a speech at the 78th United Nations General Assembly Session, addressing high-level representatives from nations worldwide and sharing Georgia’s geopolitical position and advancements in European Union integration. The Georgian delegation, led by Prime Minister Garibashvili, has been participating in the UNGA in New York since September 16, during which the Prime Minister and the Foreign Minister have conducted a number of official bilateral meetings.
Prime Minister Garibashvili began his speech by emphasizing Georgia’s enduring values and its determination to embrace “progress amid an ever-changing geopolitical landscape”. He recalled the 2008 military aggression that Georgia faced, resulting in the occupation of 20 percent of its territory by the Russian Federation and the displacement of numerous citizens.
Nevertheless, Garibashvili asserted that Georgia remained steadfast in its pursuit of UN Charter principles and values. He credited the country with a decade of uninterrupted peace and stability since 2012, expressing gratitude to the international community for its unwavering support of Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. Garibashvili also called upon the international community to encourage the Russian Federation to engage in the “Geneva International Discussions” and fully implement the EU-mediated 2008 Ceasefire Agreement.
PM talked extensively about the economic achievements, highlighting a “remarkable GDP growth rate in the past 3 years” and citing numerous international rankings. In particular, he noted that Georgia’s strong economic performance garnered international recognition, with top rankings in the Eastern Europe and Central Asia regions for the rule of law and economic freedom. The country also earned accolades for its safety, ranking 18th globally in the [NUMBEO] Crime Index 2023.
Garibashvili spoke of Georgia’s “Vision 2030 – Development Strategy,” emphasizing comprehensive reforms spanning economics, social progress, governance, justice, and human rights protection. He stated that education and social welfare remain top priorities for Georgian government, with substantial investments in schools and kindergartens, a commitment to universal healthcare, and a focus on bridging the digital divide through enhanced digital literacy.
The Prime Minister extended a hand of unity to Abkhazian and Ossetian communities, stressing: “To our Abkhazian and Ossetian brothers and sisters, it is our common adversary who opposes our unity. We are an ingenious people, capable of incredible accomplishments, but only together can we ensure lasting stability, attract increased investments and reach our full potential as a united nation. We must not let this opportunity for a peaceful, stable and prosperous future together slip through our grasp”.
Furthermore, Garibashvili underscored Georgia’s unwavering dedication to EU integration, highlighting achievements such as the EU Association Agreement, Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA), and Visa-Free regime. He noted Georgia’s status as a frontrunner among the “Associated Trio” countries, vying for EU candidate status.
Acknowledging recent regional challenges, he emphasized the importance of a rules-based international order and expressed solidarity with Ukraine, including humanitarian support and educational initiatives for the children of Ukrainian refugees in Georgia. The Prime Minister also reaffirmed Georgia’s commitment to peace, announcing the “Peaceful Neighborhood Initiative” aimed at resolving conflicts in the South Caucasus.
Garibashvili then emphasized Georgia’s role as a “responsible member of the international community actively contributing to global peace”. He highlighted the country’s contributions to NATO missions worldwide, making Georgia one of the largest per capita contributors to NATO missions in Iraq and Afghanistan. He paid tribute to the 32 Georgian soldiers who died in Afghanistan, with hundreds of others suffering injuries “in the pursuit of freedom and peace”. Georgia, he said, had sacrificed greatly to “protect shared values and common interests”.
In addition, Garibashvili discussed Georgia’s emerging role as a regional hub, focusing on financial services, infrastructure development, and international transport corridors like the Middle Corridor. He highlighted the Tbilisi Silk Road Forum and various infrastructure projects set to boost connectivity and economic growth.
The Prime Minister also outlined plans for doubling the capacity of Georgian railways, constructing the Anaklia Deep Sea Port, building a new international airport in Tbilisi, and the EU-flagship Black Sea Submarine Cable Project, all aimed at enhancing regional connectivity and energy security.