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Joint statements of Foreign Minister N. Kotzias and his Georgian counterpart, M. Janelidze, following their meeting (Tbilisi, 7 March 2017)

Wednesday, 08 March 2017

Joint statements of Foreign Minister N. Kotzias and his Georgian counterpart, M. Janelidze, following their meeting (Tbilisi, 7 March 2017)N. KOTZIAS: My dear Mikheil, thank you very much for the hospitality. I also thank you for the positive energy that pervaded our meeting. Georgia is a great love of the Greek people. As you will have observed, I have two diplomats in our delegation named Georgia and George. What does this show? How spontaneously and deeply we are linked.

I think what we agreed on and reaffirmed is important: that the relations between Greece and Georgia are strategic. Strategic relations means that both of us will try to deepen our relationship in all sectors: in education, economy, research, energy and other fields. A strategic relationship means that we will do whatever we can to bring Georgia closer to the European Union and to transfer to you our experience and knowledge, as an old member of the European Union, and that we will also learn from you, from your experiences.

I await you and your associates, with great pleasure, in Athens, as I have already extended an official invitation to you. I await our developing, by that time, our cooperation between the various Ministries, as well as between the various Directorates of our Ministries. We have a deep belief that Georgia is a country and a people that belong to Europe, and, as I said jokingly in our talks, when we stole fire from the Caucasus, we didn't need a visa, nor did we need to go through passport control.

The open relations between our two states are millennia-old relations, not just ancient, but, as the latest scientific discoveries show, prehistoric. Moreover, as a country with a deep and great history, as a country with both positive and negative experiences from the international system, we, Greece, underscored that we maintain good relations and love many of our neighbours, but above all we love the law, and international law in particular. We are a country that is founded on international law and, at the same time, supports it. Consequently, we support your sovereign rights, your territorial integrity and independence. We want to become better acquainted with the great cultural achievements of your country, and in fact we agreed to begin -- if we can, starting this year -- the weeks of culture, and, more specifically, film events here and in Greece.

I wanted to congratulate you -- though it is a small step, it is nevertheless a step -- on the waiving of Schengen short-stay visa requirements for the citizens of Georgia. We hope that this imparts momentum to tourism between the two countries, because there really is beauty and beautiful people in both Georgia and Greece.

Once again I thank you very much for the hospitality and for the productive, creative talks we had -- talks that I hope will continue during the Greek delegation's two-day stay here in beautiful Georgia.

M. JANELIDZE: Our current relations are based on millennia-old historical ties.

Today we talked about our multifaceted collaboration and we decided that everything that concerns these relations in the sectors of culture, economy, energy, transport, science and education will be discussed on the level of the competent agencies and on the level of the Foreign Ministries of Georgia and Greece. We also talked about bilateral and trilateral cooperation that can be set up between Georgia, Greece and other sides.

On our course towards association with the European Union, we are very pleased at the help we have received from Greece. Today we talked about the next steps in this association, about the liberalisation of the Schengen short-stay visa regime for Georgians. It is very, very significant that the European Commissioner who congratulated Georgia, Dimitris Avramopoulos, is Greek. Nikos, too, has contributed significantly on this issue.

We talked about many issues, about ways in which we can deepen our relations, import good practices from Greece, so that our citizens, too, can profit from our cooperation.

We also talked about the problems that exist in regions of Georgia that are under occupation. We talked about the territorial integrity of Georgia, and about the need to resolve these problems in a peaceful manner and, of course, within the framework of international law. Greece and Georgia will do whatever is in their power to ensure more potential for cooperation, peace, stability, and to maintain the level of our bilateral and multilateral relations.

I thank you once again for your visit to Georgia. It is a great honour for us, and I am sure that this visit will impart fresh momentum to the deepening of the two countries' relations.

Finally, I invite entrepreneurs from Greece, stating that we are ready with everything necessary to support them in various sectors, such as energy, tourism and communications. We are ready for synergies to be created between Georgian and Greek companies, for trade relations between the two countries to be strengthened, and for Georgian and Greek companies to set up franchises in each other's country.

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