President Dalia Grybauskaitė, who is on a working visit to Sakartvelo, met with President Giorgi Margvelashvili.
The meeting that focused on strengthening bilateral relations and on Sakartvelo’s European and transatlantic integration was held on the eve of the celebration of the 100th anniversary of the First Republic of Sakartvelo.
Dalia Grybauskaitė underscored that Lithuania celebrated this important occasion together with the people of Sakartvelo. One hundred years ago, both states prevailed over the hostility of great powers in Europe and self-determined to establish modern and democratic states. Now, a special bond – shared values and a common aim to ensure citizens’ security and prosperity – unites Lithuania and Sakartvelo.
Dalia Grybauskaitė reminded that this year marked the decade of Russia’s aggression against Sakartvelo and reiterated that Lithuania supported Sakartvelo’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. Lithuania firmly denounces the annexation of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.
According to Dalia Grybauskaitė, Sakartvelo, even with 20 percent of its territory occupied by Russia and under direct military pressure, has maintained the course of its national development, has been ambitiously implementing the reforms set and has been regarded as the leader of the Eastern Partnership.
Last year, the EU-Sakartvelo Association Agreement and visa-free regime fully entered into force, which served as a rapprochement between Sakartvelo and Europe. During one year, trade with the EU grew by over 30 percent, and 250 thousand Sakartvelo’s residents enjoyed visa-free travel in the Schengen Area.
The President also underscored that it was necessary to keep the momentum of reforms going and to continue strengthening independence of the judiciary and law enforcement, freedom of speech as well as fighting against corruption.
At the meeting, the Presidents discussed preparation for NATO summit to be held in Brussels in July this year. Lithuania firmly supports Sakartvelo’s aim to join the Alliance and values Sakartvelo’s contribution in NATO. Almost 1000 soldiers of Sakartvelo participate in Alliance’s operations in Afghanistan and in the Mediterranean Sea and are part of NATO Response Force.
Today, Dalia Grybauskaitė and Prime Minister of Sakartvelo Giorgi Kvirikashvili will discuss topical matters of bilateral cooperation with EU and NATO. Tomorrow, Dalia Grybauskaitė is attending the festive ceremony dedicated to the 100th anniversary of the First Republic of Sakartvelo.
Press Service of the President