Georgian PM Bidzina Ivanishvili held talks with the Lithuanian leadership on July 18 and discussed bilateral cooperation and Georgia’s relations with the EU, especially in the context of Eastern Partnership Summit.
During one-day visit to Vilnius, the Georgian PM met his Lithuanian counterpart Algirdas Butkevičius; President Dalia Grybauskaitė and speaker of the Lithuanian parliament Vydas Gedvilas.
Lithuania is now holding EU’s rotating presidency and will host Eastern Partnership summit in Vilnius in late November, where Georgia hopes to initial Association Agreement with the EU.
“We hope that the Vilnius Summit will produce results. The European Union and Georgia share the aspiration to successfully complete negotiations for an association agreement,” Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaitė said, according to a press release by her office.
She also said that Georgia should continue its reforms and implement “the fundamental principles of democracy, human rights and the rule of law."
The Lithuanian President said there were high expectations that the association agreement between the EU and Georgia would be initialed at the Vilnius Summit. But to this end, Georgia had to guarantee a transparent and non-biased judicial process and to ensure constructive cooperation with the opposition based on democratic principles, President Grybauskaitė said and also stressed importance of holding free and fair presidential elections in October.
After meeting which his Georgian counterpart, Lithuanian PM Algirdas Butkevičius said that Georgia’s success at the Eastern Partnership summit in Vilnius in late November is in the interest of Lithuania. He also said that Lithuania was actively cooperating with Georgia in order to make it possible to initial the Association Agreement by the time of the Vilnius summit.
PM Ivanishvili said Lithuania “is Georgia’s reliable friend”. He also said that initialing of the Association Agreement by the Vilnius summit “is absolutely achievable.”
“Of course, the October [presidential] elections will have an influence on that; let me assure you – and I have assured my counterpart – that the October elections will be exemplary in Georgia’s history. We will manage and for the first time in Georgia’s history, the state resources will not be used in favor of any candidate and generally, we think that the most European-type of elections will be held in October. This will definitely contribute to signing of the agreement and we may receive even more,” PM Ivanishvili said.
The Lithuanian PM’s office said that bilateral trade and economic cooperation, Georgia’s integration into EU and NATO and visa liberalization were discussed during the meeting.
PM Butkevičius said that there was space for deepening bilateral economic cooperation between Georgia and Lithuania, especially in transportation sector.
“Georgia is one of our most important partners in the South Caucasus, but there is still much space for improvement of our economic cooperation and reinforcement of our commercial ties. We would appreciate closer cooperation in transport. Georgia’s joining the container train Viking Project would open new possibilities for the development of intermodal transportation services between the Baltic, Black, and Caspian Seas,” said PM Butkevičius said.
On July 19 PM Ivanishvili will hold talks with his Polish counterpart Donald Tusk in Warsaw.