President Dalia Grybauskaitė attended the inauguration of the newly elected Georgian President Giorgi Margvelashvili in Tbilisi, where she represented the European Union as head of the presiding member state.
The Lithuanian and Georgian presidents met after the inaugural ceremony held in front of the Parliament building. It was the Georgian President’s first official bilateral meeting with a foreign head of state.
In Tbilisi, President Dalia Grybauskaitė also met with Bidzina Ivanishvili, Prime Minister of Georgia.
Among the issues discussed at the meetings were bilateral cooperation, the ongoing reforms in Georgia and its progress in the process of Eurointegration. Special focus was placed on the upcoming Vilnius Summit where an association agreement is expected to be initialed with the EU.
“Georgia is an important partner of Lithuania and the European Union. Georgia’s strategic decision to link its future with the EU will have a significant effect on the country and its people. The Georgian people – who have experienced war, pressure and provocations – understand very well that they will ensure their security and well-being only by choosing a path based on free will, democracy and common European values,” the President said.
Dalia Grybauskaitė underlined that the European reforms implemented in Georgia were critical for the country itself. They would advance national progress and modernization.
The President pointed out that Georgia still needed to improve its business climate, adopt anti-discrimination laws and strengthen anti-corruption efforts. Another key task was to ensure that selective justice and the persecution of political opponents were not applied. Judicial proceedings must be transparent, unbiased and based on the rule of law, the President said.
According to President Grybauskaitė, reforms are also necessary to speed up visa liberalization with the EU. It would facilitate the travelling of Georgians to EU countries.
Ways of strengthening bilateral economic cooperation as well as consolidating trade and transportation ties were also reviewed. The overall trade turnover between Lithuania and Georgia amounted to more than 160 million litas in 2012, increasing by 31 percent compared to 2011. Lithuanian exports to Georgia totaled almost 120 million litas in 2012, improving by 46 percent in a single year.
Lithuania is implementing a wide range of development cooperation projects in Georgia. Beginning with 2006, 124 projects have been carried through in health care, youth training, education, municipal and non-governmental areas. Medical personnel, architects and IT specialists from Lithuania are working in Georgia.