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OSCE Chair-in-Office Visits Georgia

The OSCE Chair-in-Office, Minister for Foreign and European Affairs and Trade of Malta, Ian Borg is visiting Georgia on May 15. He has already met with the President of Georgia, Salome Zurabishvili, the Prime Minister, Irakli Kobakhidze, and the Foreign Minister, Ilia Darchiashvili.

“Human rights and fundamental freedoms, including the right to peaceful assembly and demonstration, are not negotiable. These inalianeble rights are not only central to the OSCE, but are also essential to any democratic society,” Minister Borg made this statement, adding that “these are values which we have collectively subscribed to, and they compel us to strongly condemn any use of force against peaceful assembly. We underline the importance of preventing violence against demonstrators, and holding perpetrators accountable. Aggression and intimidation have no place in dealing with protestors exercising their basic rights.”

Meeting with the President of Georgia

According to the official press release of the President’s Administration, the OSCE Chair-in-Office and the Georgian President discussed the ongoing processes in Georgia, the upcoming parliamentary elections and the regional security issues.

Regarding the development of processes in the country and the so-called foreign agents law, President Zurabishvili emphasized “the Georgian people’s unwavering choice for Eurointegration” and noted that “she will defend the choice of the majority of Georgian society to the end.”

“The importance of support of international institutions and European countries in the direction of institutional reforms of Georgia on its path of Euro-integration was emphasized during the meeting,” the press release says.

The parties also discussed the upcoming parliamentary elections and stressed the need for long-term observation missions to ensure that the elections are transparent, free and fair.

The President emphasized the grave situation in the occupied territories of Georgia, including the continuous and gross violation of human rights. The sides also discussed regional security challenges.

“An important meeting with President Salome Zurabishvili to discuss the latest developments in Georgia and the South Caucasus region. Reiterated importance of participation of civil society for a stronger democracy, and the need to ensure free and fair elections in coming months. OSCE is committed to maintain its engagement in supporting conflict-affected communities,” Minister Ian Borg tweeted after the meeting.

“Discussed the current situation in Georgia, importance of free and fair 2024 elections and continued occupation of Georgian territories with OSCE Chair-in-Office Minister Ian Borg,” President Zurabishvili tweeted after the meeting.

Meeting with the Prime Minister of Georgia

During the meeting with Georgian PM Irakli Kobakhidze, the sides discussed the upcoming parliamentary elections in Georgia.

“Georgia’s authorities give top priority to holding transparent, free, and fair elections and are ready once again to facilitate broad engagement on the part of international observers, including representatives of OSCE institutions,” PM Kobakhidze said according to the official press release of the Government’s Administration.

The sides also discussed bilateral relations between Georgia and Malta.

“Had a productive meeting with Minister Ian Borg, where expressed Georgia’s readiness for intensive and close cooperation with Malta during its OSCE Chairmanship in 2024 across all dimensions of the organization. Rooted in mutual respect and common European values, we also reiterated our dedication to further fostering stronger collaboration both at bilateral and multilateral levels. At the meeting, special attention was paid to Georgia’s commitment to holding transparent, free, and fair parliamentary elections, aligning with international standards and best democratic practices in Europe,” PM Kobakhidze tweeted after the meeting.

Meeting with Foreign Minister of Georgia

According to the Georgian MFA, the Georgian FM updated the OSCE Chair-in-Office on the grave situation in Russia-occupied Georgian territories, and thanked him for Malta’s support to Georgia’s territorial integrity and sovereignty within the OSCE. The parties also emphasize the importance of the OSCE Co-chairs involvement in the Geneva International Discussions (GID).

“As I just outlined with the foreign minister the conflict in Georgia remains high on our agenda. I am here today with my special representative for the South Caucasus, Viorel Moșanu, and together with our OSCE team we continue to promote the cause of peace and to ensure that these processes focus on the interests of the people affected by the conflict. Our goal is not merely to manage the status quo but also to achieve tangible progress and effectively address sources of instability for the benefit of all the people concerned,” Minister Borg said at the press point following the meeting.

“Also, the discussion at the meeting touched on the need to adopt the law “On transparency of Foreign Influence”. It was noted that the sole purpose of the law is to ensure transparency. The Georgian side has expressed its willingness, within the framework of the veto procedure, to consider all the legal notes of the international partners,” the Georgian MFA noted.

According to the same information, the parties also discussed the upcoming parliamentary elections in Georgia in October, with the Georgian side pledging to “maximally” support the observers in doing their job “effectively”. “Ilia Darchiashvili noted that the goal of the Georgian government is to conduct transparent, free and fair elections in accordance with international standards.”

“Had a very good meeting with Minister Ian Borg, FM of Malta and OSCE Chairperson-in-Office. We had a thorough discussion on ongoing developments. I reaffirmed Georgia’s commitment to contributing to addressing the challenges the organization is facing. We also focused on the difficult humanitarian situation in Georgia’s occupied territories and the importance of the international community’s support,” FM Darchiashvili tweeted after the meeting.

During his visit, Minister Borg will also meet with Speaker of the Parliament Shalva Papuashvili and other MPs, as well as State Minister for Reconciliation and Civic Equality Tea Akhvlediani. He is also scheduled to visit the Tskhinvali occupation line, and to meet with the CSOs.

More to follow…

This post is also available in: ქართული (Georgian) Русский (Russian)

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