Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili held several high level meetings on the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference, which gathered over 500 decision-makers from across the globe on February 16-18, including more than 30 heads of state and government and over 100 cabinet ministers.
On February 17, PM Kvirikashvili met with U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis, and discussed the U.S.-Georgia defense relationship and regional security issues, according to Pentagon spokesperson.
“Secretary Mattis praised Georgia’s continuing service as the largest non-NATO force contributor and per-capita contributor alongside U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, recognizing that this service has come at the price of 32 Georgia service members’ lives and 290 more wounded,” Spokesperson Dana W. White wrote in the meeting readout.
White also noted that Secretary Mattis “reaffirmed the United States’ support for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Georgia,” and “discussed the significant progress in Georgia’s defense reforms and U.S. security assistance to Georgia’s armed forces, including the ongoing partnership to enhance combat readiness and institutional capacity via the Georgia Defense Readiness Program.”
Had a great meeting with #US Secretary of Defense James #Mattis on US-Georgia relations. US support in enhancing our #defense capabilities & unwavering stance on #Georgia’s #European and #EuroAtlantic integration is invaluable to us. #msc2018 https://t.co/gNNfHxGEQi pic.twitter.com/FTTM4Ch8Vh— Giorgi Kvirikashvili (@KvirikashviliGi) February 17, 2018
At the meeting with EU Commissioner Johannes Hahn, PM Kvirikashvili spoke on the implementation of the EU-Georgia Association Agreement, as well as on the revised Association Agenda for 2017-2020.
According to the PM’s office, Commissioner Hahn “welcomed the important progress and efforts of Georgia” in the EU-Georgia relations, and reiterated the Brussels’ “strong support for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Georgia.”
.@MunSecConf w #Georgia’s #PM @KvirikashviliGi. #EU-#Georgia relations going from strength to strength. Revised Association Agenda and #EaP Summit menu are an ambitious program that will bring us even closer together. @eu_near pic.twitter.com/LEdH9ZR09K— Johannes Hahn (@JHahnEU) February 16, 2018
On February 18, PM Kvirikashvili hosted a side event on Georgian politics and literature, where he talked on the country’s Euro-Atlantic aspirations and the German-Georgian relations, as well as on the security environment in Georgia.
“Since we regained independence about 26 years ago, Georgia has been aspiring to join - or rather to re-join - the European and Euro-Atlantic community, with whom we share common history, culture and values,” Giorgi Kvirikashvili stated in his opening remarks.
The Georgian PM emphasized that the country’s aspirations “to return to the political and cultural space from which we were forcibly pulled out, have been reciprocated: Both NATO and EU, along with member states, have extended the hand of support to our newly independent state that at the time had fragile democracy, and the Georgian people deeply appreciate it.”
Speaking on the German-Georgian relations, Kvirikashvili pointed out that Berlin “has always been among Georgia’s staunchest allies and most valuable and trusted friends.” “Germany has played a crucial role in Georgia’s journey to the West; Germany’s substantial contribution and the EU’s institutional support helped Georgia become a sustainable democracy,” he also noted.
Honoured to participate in first ever side event in the frame of #MunSecConf "Georgian politics and literature”. Great opportunity to showcase #Georgia and its culture ahead of Frankfurter @Book_Fair where #Georgia is the guest of Honour 2018 pic.twitter.com/0dgVPtTPba— Mikheil Janelidze (@JanelidzeMkh) February 18, 2018
In Munich, PM Kvirikashvili, who was accompanied by Foreign Minister Mikheil Janelidze and Defense Minister Levan Izoria, met with his counterparts from Turkey, Moldova, and Netherlands, as well as with MSC Chairman Wolfgang Ischinger and ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda, who is investigating the August 2008 war.
Foreign Minister Mikheil Janelidze and Defense Minister Levan Izoria held meetings of their own, with Janelidze meeting his counterparts from Japan, Moldova, Italy, Liechtenstein, Norway, the Czech Republic, and the Islamic Republic of Iran, as well as with U.S. Deputy Energy Secretary Dan Brouillette and Bundestag Vice President Claudia Roth. Minister Izoria on his part held meetings with defense ministers of Germany and Norway, as well as with Mark Lancaster, U.K. Minister of State for the Armed Forces.