German Economic Cooperation and Development Minister Dirk Niebel, who pays a three-day visit to Georgia, met with Georgian leadership on May 31.
President Saakashvili said Niebel’s visit less than three months after the visit of the German Foreign Minister to Georgia was the sign of further deepening of bilateral ties.
On May 31 the German minister also met with Georgian PM Nika Gilauri and Finance Minister Dimitri Gvindadze; the latter signed an agreement with the German side on May 31 according to which Georgia will receive EUR 57.25 million of German funding this year of which EUR 52 million is soft loan and the rest is grant; the funding will be used for rehabilitation of drainage systems in Batumi; solid waste management in the Imereti region; renewable energy projects and for development of protected areas, according to the Georgian Finance Ministry.
“Within our regional cooperation with the South Caucasus, Georgia is an especially advanced and constructive partner. The country often acts as a model and an intermediary in the region,” Economic Cooperation and Development Minister Dirk Niebel said.
He outlines three priority areas of cooperation, involving democracy, rule of law and biodiversity protection.
“In our cooperation with Georgia, I consider three areas particularly important: I want to support the country in consolidating democracy – and I expect equal opportunities for the participants in the forthcoming parliamentary and presidential elections,” he said.
“Secondly, the rule of law is to be strengthened. This relates to the independence of the judiciary, but also to an efficient and transparent legal framework for the private sector, investment and employment. Thirdly, Georgia's unique natural environment is to be protected through compliance with international biodiversity principles,” Niebel said.
On June 1 the German minister visited Gori field office of EU Monitoring Mission in Georgia (EUMM) and then joined EUMM patrol to the breakaway South Ossetia administrative border.
On the last day of the visit to Georgia, the German minister will visit Batumi on June 2 to hold talks with leadership of the Adjara Autonomous Republic and to hold meetings at the Constitutional Court. In Batumi he will also tour water supply systems, rehabilitated with German assistance.
German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle visited Tbilisi in March as part of his trip to three South Caucasus states, followed with visits to Georgia by State Secretary at the German Defense Ministry Thomas Kossendey and then by Minister of State at the Foreign Ministry Cornelia Pieper in April. Patricia Flor, the German Foreign Ministry’s special representative for Eastern Europe, the Caucasus and Central Asia, visited Georgia in early May.
2012 marks 20th anniversary of establishment of diplomatic relations between Georgia and Germany, which was the first foreign country to open its embassy in Tbilisi in April, 1992.