President Zurabishvili pays historic visit to Austria, first in 100 years

  • Georgian and Austrian presidents have met earlier today. Photo: Georgian president’s press office., 12 Oct 2021 - 16:43, Tbilisi,Georgia

Georgian President Salome Zurabishvili has paid a historic official visit to Austria. She is the first Georgia president to visit the country in an official capacity for the first time in 100 years. 

Zurabishvili met with Austrian President Alexander van der Bellen earlier today, after meeting with members of the Georgian diaspora in Vienna. 

Thank you for the opportunity that after 100 years I am the first Georgian president to visit Austria. The visit is important for both countries,” Zurabishvili told Alexander van der Bellen. 

She thanked the Austrian government for ‘its firm support’ for Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. 

Receiving the support from the country which had experienced occupation is significant. Austria is no longer occupied and is one of our allies in the EU.  Your example gives hope and points at big opportunities ahead,” Zurabishvili said. 

She stated that Georgia and Austria will ‘worthily’ celebrate the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties next year. 

Zurabishvili thanked Austria for its solidarity during the coronavirus pandemic and ‘gifting’ coronavirus vaccines, as well as the country’s participation in the European Union Monitoring mission in Georgia. 

She has expressed hope that the EUMM will have access to the country’s Russian-occupied Tskhinvali and Abkhazia regions, per the 2008 ceasefire agreement with Russia which the latter refuses to fulfil. 

Zurabishvili said that the first Nobel Peace Prize-winning woman Bertha von Suttner of Austrian origin lived in Georgia and Georgia had issued post marks in her memory.

She stated that her role as the president is to fight for stability and depolarisation. 

Alexander van der Bellen said that Austria agreed with international observers that the October 2 municipal elections in Georgia were ‘well-administered, but polarised,’ and expressed hope that the political polarisation will end soon. 

He said that the Georgian president has a special role to weaken polarisation and mediate between parties. 

Alexander van der Bellen stated that the consensus between Georgian political parties is crucial for the county’s Euro-Atlantic integration. 

Zurabishvili will leave Austria late tomorrow.