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Independence Day of Georgia and 100th Anniversary of the Establishment of Georgia’s First Democratic Republic

5 June 2018

Speech by H.E. Mr. Beka Dvali, Ambassador of Georgia on the occasion of The Independence Day of Georgia and 100th Anniversary of the Establishment of Georgia’s First Democratic Republic

Pretoria, Republic of South Africa
4 June 2018

Photo: Mr Beka Dvali, Ambassador of Georgia addressing guests

I personally and my colleagues from the Georgian Embassy in Pretoria are thrilled and humbled to have so many of our friends celebrating Georgia’s Independence Day and 100th Anniversary of the Establishment of Georgia’s First Democratic Republic with us. Thank you so much for being with us this evening!

And it is such a coincidence that in 2018 South Africa also marks an important Centenary - 100 years from the birthday of Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, founding father of a democratic South Africa and its first President. On behalf of Georgia, allow me to congratulate the South African Government, all South Africans and indeed the whole world on this occasion. Mandela has inspired and will continue to inspire generations worldwide by the very character of his example of selfless service to his Nation.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Georgia’s Statehood, in a form of a Kingdom, dates back to millennia but it was only on 26 May 1918, when the first Democratic Republic of Georgia was born. It brought to all Georgian citizens equality of rights and delivered the freedoms, which were quite unique even in Europe and in many other parts of the world of the second decade of the 20th century.

The  First Georgian Republic and its promising prospects for our nation lasted only three years. In 1921 this freedom was taken from us by Soviet invasion. Only on 9 April 1991 Georgia managed to restore its Independence and its Democratic Republic.

And for that, credit goes to our courageous forefathers who made that 1918 declaration of Georgian Republic a reality in the post first-world war turbulent setting. We cherish their memory, their achievements and always remember all Georgian men and women, who fell heroically while defending Georgian Republic or during continued attempts to regain independence. And today, we are proud that 27 years ago contemporary generations of Georgians managed to reclaim our statehood and our democracy and to carry the ideals of the first Georgian Republic to new heights.

 
Photo 1: Mzia Broladze, Temur Kereselidze, Nino Lezhava, Luka Dvali and Ammbassador Beka Dvali
Photo 2: Mr. Nkosi Phathekile Holomisa, Deputy Minister of Labour os South Africa addressing guests

Never before in its history has Georgia been so deeply integrated with the global community, never before has Georgia had so many friends and allies world-wide, never before has Georgia forged partnerships so effectively with its neighborhood, with our European family of nations and beyond. Georgia continues its steadfast process of integration with the European Union and with North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and has no doubt to become fully fledged member of both alliances sooner rather than later, as this is the will of the people of Georgia.

Truly outstanding are Georgia’s achievements in state-building, comprehensive reforms and remarkable is Georgia’s role as a positive force and a real contributor to international peace and security and a reliable ally of all freedom loving nations.

And all these achievements have been attained, despite continued, fully-fledged, hybrid kind of assault on our democracy, on our sovereignty, on our territorial integrity and on our freedom, regrettably, from one of our neighboring countries still on a mission to crush our statehood. This is the confrontation we have not picked as the Georgian Nation has always been guided by the truism so well enshrined in the 12th Century Georgian Renaissance poet Shota Rustaveli’s eternal poem “The Knight in the Panther’s Skin”. Rustaveli said: “Who Seeks Not a Friend is His Own Foe”.   

As Georgia’s two historical territories – Abkhazia and Tskhinvali Region - continue to be illegally occupied by Russian troops, and as Georgia continues its purely peaceful efforts to restore its territorial integrity, we are grateful to have enjoyed international solidarity globally, including from South Africa and from all other African nations, in supporting Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and first and foremost – supporting international law and order and the UN Charter-based system – the olive branch that all of us depend on. Regrettably, on 29 May 2018, joining Russia, Venezuela, Nicaragua and Nauru, a shameful regime of Syria, manipulated by Moscow, breached international law, yet once again, and, in its own world of brutality and lawlessness, started to call Georgia’s historical territories of Abkhazia and Tskhinvali region “independent states”.  Same day, Georgia started to cut diplomatic ties with Syrian regime, with the hope and confidence that sooner rather than later sanity and justice will return to that land and Georgia will restore diplomatic ties with Syrian people, with whom we have interacted throughout our millennia-old history and many of whom, currently, live as refugees in my country. And here, I cannot but emphasize that Georgia, nowadays, has brilliant relations with every other Arab country - there is a real boom in Georgia-Arab relations.

The attempts to crush, yet once again, Georgian democracy are futile. To apply Mandela’s principles pronounced at the Rivonia Trial (1963-64), allow me to make it clear that Sovereign, Democratic, United, Prosperous Georgia, fully integrated within European family and having strong alliances and bilateral partnerships globally is the ideal, which all Georgians “hope to live for, and to see realised. But If need be, it is an ideal for which we are prepared to die”.

Georgia has been blessed for the historical opportunity of forging ties throughout African continent with our brothers and sisters here in South Africa as well as with all other nations on the continent, including the entire area of Southern African Development Community (SADC). With our South African and African partners we have shared experiences of struggle for independence, shared ideals of liberty and human rights, and strong desire of improving lives of all our citizens in current turbulent international global environment.

I would like to extend gratitude to South African Government and DIRCO for continued support to all our diplomatic initiatives and efforts. Currently, we look forward to having yet another round of bilateral consultations to take our partnership to a higher level.

We are grateful for the recent decision by South Africa to start issuing long-term multi-entry visas to Georgian citizens. And we are hopeful that soon South Africa will reciprocate to Georgia with total lifting of visa requirements for Georgian citizens. This will be conducive to bilateral partnership and catapult people-to-people contacts. We are keen to continue hard work together with DIRCO to seize all opportunities that bilateral relations entail.

We support and look forward to South Africa’s tenure as a non-permanent member in the UN Security Council for the period of 2019-2020, soon to be formalised, and commend this friendly Nation’s dedication to strengthening international peace and security on this continent and beyond as well as to highlighting the centrality of multilateralism and primacy of human rights and humanitarian law.

I have recently completed yet another round of my visits to the countries of my accreditation and have strengthened optimism in vast opportunities of further advancing ties not only with South Africa but also with Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Mauritius, Madagascar, Mozambique, Namibia, eSwatini, Zambia, Zimbabwe and DRC. I would like to extend gratitude to all Ambassadors and high Commissioners in Pretoria of these countries of my accreditation for continued support to my mission and for being additional valuable bridge between Georgia, our Embassy in Pretoria and these friendly Nations.

As we speak, we witness an increased number of business ventures ongoing between Georgia and South Africa and Southern Africa, increased interactions between various regions, increased awareness about each other and increased amount of travelers exchanging visits. I want to take this opportunity and express gratitude to Southern Africa Georgia Chamber of Commerce (SAGCC), Chairman Marius Heyns and to all its members for their visionary commitment while setting in motion a new dynamism to business links and people-to-people contacts between Georgia and Southern Africa.

I also have the privilege of extending the words of gratitude to Dr. Gerald Wolman, Honorary Consul of Georgia in Cape Town, to Mr. Tusie Serumola, Honorary Consul of Georgia in Gaborone, Botswana and to Mr. Antonio Dengo Muhau, Honorary Consul of Georgia in Maputo, Mozambique. You also have started historical and in a way, monumental effort, together with our Embassy, to bring closer our nations. We are grateful to you for that dedication.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Next, you will enjoy brief but exciting performance by talented and beautiful young Georgian pianist Sophie Lejava. When the formal program is over and we are outside this concert hall, do not leave, stay with us. Believe me, the beginning of a working week - Monday evening - is a perfect moment to raise a large number of toasts with unique and outstanding Georgian Wine!

God Bless Georgia! God Bless South Africa! Long Live our Friendship!  

I thank you!

Embassy of Georgia in Pretoria, South Africa

 


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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June 2018

 
 
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