Foreign Ministers of Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Latvia, Lithuania and Romania held talks with senior government officials, ruling party and opposition representatives in Tbilisi on September 17, highlighting importance of upcoming parliamentary elections.
Foreign Ministers Nickolay Mladenov of Bulgaria; Karel Schwarzenberg of the Czech Republic; Edgars Rinkēvičs of Latvia; Audronius Ažubalis of Lithuania and Titus Corlăţean of Romania praised Georgia’s reform efforts and underlined that the October 1 parliamentary elections would be an important for the country’s further democratic development.
"It is important that all political forces should have fair and equal opportunities. Free, democratic and transparent elections in accordance with international standards will be an important signal to the EU, NATO and the Eastern Partnership countries in the region as a whole," the Latvian Foreign Minister said.
The Romanian Foreign Minister said that message conveyed to the both the authorities and opposition was about the need for Georgia to maintain its Euro-Atlantic commitments and to hold elections that would enjoy with “full credibility both at home and abroad.”
The Lithuanian Foreign Minister said: “We believe that only representatives from the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) rather than political parties themselves or some public relations agency can provide an impartial and objective assessment of the election process. The international community will trust its own observers.”
“Georgia’s success story surprises and at the same time inspires many people. We strongly support the three important choices made by Georgia: the decision to continue the European and Euro-Atlantic integration process, willingness to further implement necessary reforms, and determination to organise free and fair elections,” Lithuanian Foreign Minister Audronius Ažubalis added.
According to the Czech Foreign Ministry, top diplomats from the five EU member states stressed that it was up to both the authorities and the opposition to contribute to the success of the electoral process.
“Georgia is an excellent example of how determination in dialogue with the EU and NATO produces concrete benefits. There is progress on the Association Agreement and on free trade, as well as the first steps towards visa liberalisation. Other Eastern Partnership countries can learn from this progress,” the Bulgarian Foreign Minister said.
After meeting with the five foreign ministers earlier on September 17, leader of Georgian Dream opposition coalition, Bidzina Ivanishvili, said that at the meeting he reiterated the coalition’s commitment to Georgia’s NATO integration.
Later on September 17 the foreign ministers also met with leader of Christian-Democratic Movement (CDM) Giorgi Targamadze; New Rights Party leader Davit Gamkrelidze and a representative of the Labor Party Soso Shatberashvili.
The five foreign ministers also met with Secretary of National Security Council Giga Bokeria; Parliamentary Speaker Davit Bakradze; President Saakashvili hosted the foreign ministers in his vineyard in Kvareli in eastern Georgian town of Kvareli.
Foreign Ministers of Sweden and Poland visited Georgia earlier this month and discussed upcoming parliamentary elections with the Georgian leadership and opposition representatives.