European Council President Donald Tusk and Georgian President Salome Zurabishvili agreed to further intensity cooperation between Georgia and the EU and spoke to the press today after their meeting in Brussels.
Donald Tusk welcomed President Zurabishvili in Brussels on her first foreign visit as president and congratulated her on her recent election.
I value your efforts to bridge social and political divisions in your country,” he said, adding that the EU-Georgia partnership is ‘outstanding and far-reaching’.
In our meeting today, I reconfirmed the EU's commitment to intensifying our cooperation in the framework of the Association Agreement. The agreement has brought significant benefits to our citizens and has potential to strengthen further Georgia's social, economic, political and institutional resilience,” Tusk said, welcoming Georgia's dedication to reform and added that he agreed with President Zurabishvili on the importance of progress in the rule of law and judicial areas.
He has also re-stated the EU's unwavering support for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Georgia and to conflict resolution efforts.
“Last year Tbilisi launched important trade, education and health initiatives for people living in Abkhazia and South Ossetia. We stand ready to provide further assistance to all those whose lives have been affected by conflict and to facilitate dialogue,” Tusk added.
Great to welcome @Zourabichvili_S in Brussels on first foreign trip as President. The EU-Georgia partnership is outstanding and far-reaching. And we are committed to intensify it further. https://t.co/7CQIJ0ketS pic.twitter.com/GluXDcxDGE— Donald Tusk (@eucopresident) January 22, 2019
President Zurabishvili thanked Donald Tusk for the very significant role that the EU has been playing in keeping peace and stability along the occupation line.
The importance of the EU monitoring mission is not overstated. It is really central because it is the one international presence providing additional sense of security for the population that is living on both sides of the occupation line and it is central for us to develop the new peace initiative,” she said, emphasising the need for the stronger involvement of the international community in terms of conflict resolution.
We also need the stronger involvement of the international community… to find new and more audacious peaceful solutions for the conflict. I think we both, us and the EU, need to think in all directions about the situation that we have around us,” Zurabishvili added.
Donald Tusk spoke to Georgia's continued, strong support for the Eastern Partnership and thanked Georgia for dedicating the 2019 Batumi Conference to the 10th anniversary of it.
“This will be an opportunity to reflect on the progress we have made together. I will be very glad to visit Georgia again, to attend this conference in July,” Tusk said.
The EU is one of the largest trading partner of Georgia and since the introduction of visa-free travel in March 2017, over 300,000 Georgians have made use of it.