President of the Republic of Lithuania

Further reforms are essential to Georgia's well-being

2017-03-30

Thursday, March 30, Vilnius – President Dalia Grybauskaitė met with Georgian President Giorgi Margvelashvili who arrived on an official visit to Lithuania to mark the start of visa free travels to the European Union and to thank the Lithuanian people for their support to Georgia.

According to the President, the possibility of traveling across Europe visa free is a major achievement for Georgia attained through continued and consistent work. The President underlined that Georgia had made huge progress and deservedly figures as a leader in Eastern Partnership. The successful reform process is well demonstrated by international ratings. Last year Georgia was listed 16 in the Doing Business report. It ranks 44 in the Corruption Perception Index.

The President emphasized that Lithuania supported Georgia’s European perspective and was ready to provide help and assistance. She further said that even though Georgia’s achievements were significant, it was necessary to keep up the pace and continue working in areas of importance to the state and the people: to reform the judicial system and the prosecutor’s office, to depoliticize the civil service sector, to implement anti-corruption measures.

The President stressed that the freedom of the press and pluralism were critical for the development of democracy.

The two presidents also discussed the security situation, threats posed by neighboring Russia, and cooperation with NATO.

According to the President, Lithuania and Georgia assess security threats in the same way. Georgia was the first to experience Russia’s aggression in 2008, and had to defend its land with arms. Today Lithuania is experiencing aggressive militarization along its borders. In the face of an increasing Russian threat, both countries reintroduced military conscription.

Dalia Grybauskaitė said that Lithuania strongly supported Georgia’s aspiration for membership in NATO. President Giorgi Margvelashvili asked the Lithuanian President to stand by the interests of his country in the upcoming NATO summit in Brussels.

The Alliance values the progress made by Georgia in reforming its armed forces and highly appreciates its contribution to joint NATO exercises and operations. Currently, Georgia is a significant contributor to the mission in Afghanistan and the counter-terrorism operation in the Mediterranean. Georgian experts are engaged in the activities of the NATO Energy Security Centre of Excellence in Vilnius.

The President emphasized that Lithuania supported Georgia's sovereignty and territorial integrity. Lithuania strongly condemns the slow annexation of Abkhazia and South Ossetia through illegitimate elections and referendum.

Georgia is a close bilateral partner of Lithuania. The two countries are linked by long-standing bonds of friendship, their strong aspiration to build free democratic states, and a mutual wish to know each other better. Although the potential for bilateral cooperation has not been fully realized, Georgia is the key partner of Lithuania in the South Caucasus region. More and more tourists are discovering Georgia. Student exchange programmes are actively developed. The Lithuanian language is studied at Georgia’s universities, and vice versa. Close cooperation ties are maintained by our business people, energy experts, doctors.

Since 2004, Lithuania has jointly carried through 170 development cooperation projects in Georgia on civil society and regional development. Lithuania is engaged in the EU monitoring mission in Georgia and leads the NATO trust fund, which aims to clear mines from its territory. Our country funded the studies of more than 100 Georgian officers in Lithuania.

The Tbilisi Square in Vilnius and the Vilnius Square in Tbilisi stand as tokens of true friendship between Lithuania and Georgia.

Press Service of the President

Last updated 2017.03.30 14:17

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