President Dalia Grybauskaitė met with Georgian President Salome Zourabichvili, who came to Lithuania on an official visit. This is one of the first foreign trips made by the newly elected President of Gerogia.
The meeting focused on bilateral relations, Georgia's cooperation with the EU and NATO, the security situation in the Black Sea region and reinforcement of response to cyber threats.
According to President Dalia Grybauskaitė, even though Lithuania and Georgia are separated by almost three thousand miles, they are close nations who love freedom and who stood up for it with courage and determination. The strong bonds that exist between the two countries and their people are best demonstrated by the long-standing friendship ties between the people of Lithuania and Georgia, their wish to maintain close contacts and to know each other better. Last May, when Georgia celebrated the centennial of independence, students in Tbilisi sang the Lithuanian national anthem for the President of Lithuania. When Lithuania celebrated 100 years of the Act of Independence on February 16 last year, the President of Georgia came to Vilnius to extend his greeting to the Lithuanian people.
After more than ten years since Russia’s aggression against Georgia, Lithuania firmly supports Georgian sovereignty and territorial integrity and condemns Russia's creeping occupation.
Lithuania has introduced sanctions for the continued violation of human rights in the occupied territories on persons responsible for it.
The Lithuanian and Georgian presidents also discussed Georgia’s cooperation with the European Union. The President underlined that Georgia had made huge progress and was deservedly considered as the leader in Eastern Partnership. The EU association and free trade agreements are working successfully, the free visa regime is in place and reforms that are greatly important for Georgia’s national development are well underway. The President pointed out that it was very important to maintain the rapid pace of the reform process.
When discussing security, defense and cooperation with NATO, Dalia Grybauskaitė underscored Lithuania’s firm support to Georgia’s aspirations to join the Alliance.
According to the President, NATO greatly appreciates Georgia’s participation in multiple projects and operations, including its contribution to the NATO Response Force. The number of Georgian troops deployed to the NATO-led mission in Afghanistan exceeds that of many allies. Georgia’s active engagement, the President said, demonstrates its determination and persistent efforts to become a member of NATO in the future.
Russia’s actions and the tension it created in the Black Sea region was also on the meeting’s agenda. Lithuania supports the proposal to increase NATO’s presence in the region through joint exercises and training. This March, Lithuania will be taking part in joint allied exercise in Georgia.
Much attention is devoted to cyber security during the visit. On Friday, March 8, the Presidents of Lithuania and Georgia will visit the National Cyber Security Center where a declaration of intent on cooperation in cyber security will be signed.