Foreign Minister of New Zealand, Murray McCully, held talks with the Georgian leadership in Tbilisi on July 14.
It’s the first visit of a New Zealand foreign minister to Georgia.
Foreign Minister McCully visited Tbilisi as part of his European trip, which also included visits to Montenegro and Croatia.
In Tbilisi he met his Georgian counterpart Maia Panjikidze; President Giorgi Margvelashvili; PM Irakli Garibashvili and parliament speaker Davit Usupashvili.
Speaking at a news conference after meeting his Georgian counterpart, the Foreign Minister of New Zealand said that his country and Georgia “cooperate in the Pacific” region.
“We have many smaller countries in the Pacific greatly interested in developments in this part of the world,” McCully said and expressed hope to see his Georgian counterpart at the Pacific Islands Forum in Palau later this year.
Georgia started to intensify contacts in the Oceania region after several small island nations in the Pacific recognized Georgia’s breakaway Abkhazia and South Ossetia. In 2011 Georgian parliamentary delegation, led by then parliament speaker Davit Bakradze, visited Australia and New Zealand, which was then followed by a visit of then Georgian Foreign Minister Grigol Vashadze to the same countries, as well to Fiji. Last year Georgia established diplomatic relations with Vanuatu, small island state in the middle of the South Pacific Ocean, which affirmed its support to Georgia’s territorial integrity, putting an end to confusion and uncertainty surrounding Vanuatu’s recognition of Abkhazia and South Ossetia in 2011. In March, 2014 Tuvalu, tiny island nation in the South Pacific, retracted its recognition of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.
Georgian Foreign Minister Maia Panjikidze thanked New Zealand for “unwavering support” to Georgia’s territorial integrity.
“We consider New Zealand as our partner not only in the Oceania region, but globally as well,” Panjikidze said.
The Foreign Minister of New Zealand said that in the bilateral economic relations his country wants to focus on cooperation in agriculture. “I believe there is an enormous scope for us to cooperate in that area,” Foreign Minister McCully said.