FM candidate highlights Gov't policy for peaceful resolution of domestic, regional conflicts

Darchiashvili outlined Georgia's commitment to advancing efforts for enhancing energy, transport and digital connectivity with the European Union. Photo: Ilia Darchiashvili’s Twitter, 07 Feb 2024 - 13:09, Tbilisi,Georgia

Ilia Darchiashvili, the candidate for the post of Foreign Minister of Georgia, on Wednesday highlighted the Government’s commitment to mediate for peace in the South Caucasus region and reintegrate it's own Russian-occupied Abkhazia and Tskhinvali (South Ossetia) regions only through peaceful means. 

During his address to Parliamentary committees ahead of the vote on the new cabinet, triggered following the resignation of Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili on January 29 and nomination of Irakli Kobakhidze as his replacement on February 1, the official noted the concept of the Peaceful Neighbourhood Initiative, proposed by Garibashvili for facilitating talks between Azerbaijan and Armenia for their long-running conflict over the Nagorno-Karabakh region. 

Darchiashvili emphasised the Government had “consistently pursued a balanced approach” and had “actively facilitated” communication with the neighbouring states despite “challenging regional circumstances”. 

He also reaffirmed the country's commitment to continuing the policy, which he said was “rooted in principles of peace and stability”.

Georgia has taken a significant step towards promoting peace and stability in the region. We stand ready to further engage in this direction, catering to the needs of our neighbouring countries. We envision Tbilisi as a hub for our neighbours to convene, fostering discussions on pertinent issues to build mutual trust”, he said. 

The FM candidate underscored the importance of diversifying transport and energy corridors, particularly highlighting the “important role” of the Middle Corridor - a route connecting Central Asia and Europe. 

He outlined Georgia's commitment to advancing efforts for enhancing energy, transport and digital connectivity with the European Union. 

Highlighting Georgia's significance as an “energy hub”, he cited the strategic partnership agreement on green energy development and transmission, signed between the governments of Azerbaijan, Georgia, Romania, and Hungary in Bucharest in 2022 after the initiative was proposed by Georgia.

He also stressed the country’s “growing transit capabilities”, its positioning as an “important player” in the Black Sea region, and highlighted the importance of fostering regional cooperation through bilateral and multilateral formats and with a focus on strengthening strategic and political ties with Central Asia, East Asia and Middle East countries.

The official cited accomplishments like the signing of the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement with the United Arab Emirates in 2023, formation of an intergovernmental coordination council with Saudi Arabia, initiation of free trade negotiations with Israel and commencement of negotiations on an economic partnership agreement with South Korea.

Speaking about the country’s foreign policy priorities, Darchiashvili reiterated his office’s “steadfast commitment” to bolstering sovereignty and achieving territorial integrity through peaceful means. 

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia remains dedicated to our country's foremost priority - strengthening sovereignty and restoring territorial integrity peacefully”, he said and emphasised the office's efforts toward a peaceful resolution of the Russian-Georgian conflict, focusing on both de-occupation of Georgian territories and fostering of reconciliation and engagement among communities divided by the occupation line. 

Darchiashvili emphasised the importance of “tangible progress” in the Geneva International Discussions on Georgia’s conflict issues, pledging close collaboration with co-chairing organisations, the United States and EU member states to advance negotiations and secure “effective” international support.

The official also highlighted the 2023 resolution by the United Nations General Assembly on the status of internally displaced persons and refugees from Georgia's Russian-occupied regions, which he said had receiving the "highest-ever" number of 100 votes and condemned “demographic changes" carried out by force in them by occupation authorities.