British Foreign Secretary meeting highlighted Georgia was “first target” for Russia in 2008 - FM

  • Georgian Foreign Minister Ilia Darchiashvili on Friday met with James Cleverly, the British Foreign Secretary, in Tbilisi., 17 Mar 2023 - 13:30, Tbilisi,Georgia

Georgian Foreign Minister Ilia Darchiashvili on Friday said his meeting with James Cleverly, the British Foreign Secretary, in Tbilisi had highlighted Georgia had been the first to experience Russian aggression in 2008.

In his comments to the media, the Minister made the reference to the Russia-Georgia conflict that preceded the Kremlin’s intervention in Ukraine in 2014 and its full-scale invasion of the country last year.

Darchiashvili said the discussion also involved the ongoing conflict in Ukraine and the security environment in the South Caucasus region, which he said had been “severely aggravated due to Russia's full-scale military aggression against Ukraine”. 

The Georgian Government's efforts to ensure humanitarian aid and political support for Kyiv “in all international platforms” were also noted by him.

Darchiashvili also thanked his counterpart for the United Kingdom’s commitment to Georgia’s NATO aspirations and its engagement in the implementation of the Substantial NATO-Georgia package - a set of initiatives endorsed at the alliance’s 2014 Wales Summit and aimed at strengthening Georgia’s defence capabilities. 

He said the meeting also reviewed the importance of the Black Sea regional security. 

Cleverly’s visit marks the first arrival of a British foreign office head to Georgia since 2016. The official is also scheduled to meet Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili and observe the administrative line separating the Russian-occupied Tskhinvali (South Ossetia) region from the rest of the country, before departing the country later on Friday.