Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili has addressed the general debate of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) 76th session in New York today and has stated that ‘we (Georgians) will not rest until we achieve EU and NATO membership.’
Our path to European and Euro-Atlantic structures is a homecoming, a civilizational choice. An absolute majority of our population strongly supports this destiny for our country,” Garibashvili stated.
PM Garibashvili has discussed the country’s economic progress, noting that despite ‘the deep setbacks from Covid-19’ the Georgian economy continues to develop.
Even with the deep setbacks from Covid-19, the Georgian economy is on the mend, growth is surging, jobs are being created, and we are once again one of the leading tourist destinations in the world. #UNGA— Irakli Garibashvili (@GharibashviliGe) September 24, 2021
Our economy is on the mend, growth is surging, jobs are being created, and we are once again one of the leading tourist destinations in the world,” Garibashvili asserted.
He also underscored the country’s ‘some notable ranking,’ such as the Heritage Foundation’s Index of Economic Freedom which ranks Georgia 12th amongst 184 countries, demonstrating ‘robust economic strides.’
Garibashvili in his speech stressed the importance of Georgia’s role for international security and peace by underlining its involvement in various international peacekeeping operations such as providing a ‘transportation and logistics hub for thousands of evacuees from Afghanistan’ and ‘release of 15 Armenian detainees by Azerbaijan’ with the country’s mediation.
We may be a small nation, but we have made outsized contributions to international security, fighting alongside our allies against terrorism and organised crime around the globe,” Garibashvili noted.
Earlier this week, we heard @POTUS Joseph Biden call for increased global cooperation to meet our largest challenges. In Georgia, we not only share this sentiment, but we have - and always will - step up to answer the call. #UNGA— Irakli Garibashvili (@GharibashviliGe) September 24, 2021
We did so in Afghanistan where 32 brave soldiers gave their lives, and numerous others were injured, for the cause of peace and freedom,” he added.
PM Garibashvili also discussed the importance of holding democratic elections at the UNGA 76th general debate ahead of the country’s October 2 municipal race.
He stated that since 2012 (when the Georgian Dream came into power) the country held six democratic elections, noting that ‘each one has been declared free and fair by international election observers.’
In fact, in a few days’ time, we will once again be holding a free, fair and democratic nationwide municipal elections,” said Garibashvili.
If we cannot believe in elections, then democracy itself is in peril,” Garibashvili added.
Irakli Garibashvili talked over the challenges that Georgia is currently dealing with and noted that ‘we have achieved much, but more remains to be done.’
First and foremost, we must create more jobs. At the same time, we must remain dedicated to investing in education and infrastructure; eradicating poverty; strengthening our health system; and diversifying our industrial, service and agricultural sectors,” Garibashvili said.
I applaud the @UN for going ahead with this General Assembly during a global pandemic. As we continue our effort to build back better from the pandemic with a sense of unity, we have to come together to meet the needs of the world. #UNGA— Irakli Garibashvili (@GharibashviliGe) September 24, 2021
Garibashvili touched upon the issue of Georgia’s illegal occupation by Russia and noted that it is not only ‘occupying 20 per cent of Georgian territory, but is also actively seeking to undermine our aspirations to join the European and Euro-Atlantic family.’
PM Garibashvili discussed the humanitarian crisis in the Georgian occupied territories of Abkhazia and Tskhinvali (South Ossetia) regions, noting that Russia’s illegal interference is ‘an unbearable burden for those living on both sides of the razor-wired fences.’
Every day, Georgian land continues to be subject to creeping annexation and so-called borderization. This includes kidnappings, illegal detentions, unlawful restrictions on freedom of movement, and deprivation of the right to education in the native tongue – particularly in the Gali region,” Garibashvili stated.
I propose the Peaceful Neighborhood Initiative to promote stability in the South Caucasus. This format will facilitate dialogue and confidence-building, & lead to the implementation of practical solutions to regional issues of common interest with our US and EU partners. #UNGA— Irakli Garibashvili (@GharibashviliGe) September 24, 2021
He also introduced the Georgian government’s peace initiative A Step to a Better Future ‘to improve the livelihoods of people living in the Abkhazia and Tskhinvali regions.’
I want to address our Abkhaz and Ossetian brothers and sisters, and say that our true strength is in cooperation and unity, which is exactly why our foes want us divided and apart.nd Tskhinvali regions,” said Garibashvili.
Georgian delegation at the UNGA 76th session in New York is lead by Irakli Garibashvili and includes Georgian Foreign Minister David Zalkaliani, Education Minister Mikheil Chkhenkeli and Head of Government Administration Ilia Darchiashvili.