26 May 2015, Pretoria, South Africa
Address by H.E. Mr. Beka Dvali, Ambassador of Georgia on the occasion of The Independence Day of Georgia
Honourable Representative of South African Government Dear Mr. Mzwandile Radebe, DDG: Corporate Management, Department of Public Enterprises,
Professor Cheryl de la Rey, the Vice Chancellor and the Principal of the University of Pretoria,
Dear colleagues from the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) and partners from other state Departments,
Your Excellency Ambassador G. Safta, Ambassador of the Republic of Romania and the Dean of the European Diplomatic Corps,
Your Excellencies Ambassadors and High Commissioners,
Members of the Diplomatic Corps,
Dr. Gerald Wolman, the Honorary Consul of Georgia in Cape Town,
Mr. Marius Heyns, the Chairman of South Africa-Georgia Chamber of Commerce,
The representatives of business and media, Georgian compatriots
Ladies and Gentlemen,
We are honoured to have you all with us tonight, as we celebrate the Day of Restoration of the Independence of Georgia.
Throughout millennia, Georgia’s strategic location at the crossroads of civilisations has defined our historical experiences. Most of the time, it’s been a struggle for independence and for preservation of our
national identity and unique cultural heritage, our language and our faith.
Last 24 years have been another extraordinary journey.
Through trials and errors, we have gone a long way in institutionalising our democracy based on the rule of law, human rights, liberalism and free market – the values, we have always cherished, but were deprived of, during decades-long soviet occupation and annexation.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Two parts of my country – Abkhazia and Tskhinvali Region still continue to be under foreign illegal occupation, hundreds of thousands of Georgians, subjected to ethnic cleansing, still remain internally displaced and unable to return to their homes. However, we are resolute in pursuing peaceful settlement and unavoidable restoration of the territorial integrity of Georgia. We are confident that international law will prevail eventually and in this, we continue to rely on international solidarity embedded in the UN Charter-based system.
Today, Georgia stands firm on track of European and Euro-Atlantic integration. Our value-based European orientation and Euro-Atlantic aspirations remain unshakable.
Our network of global partnerships is also as wide as never before. And Georgia has been increasingly contributing to international peace and security, to anti-terrorism and peacekeeping operations - our commitments to the international peace efforts in Central African Republic and in Mali being just recent examples of our input.
Globally-acclaimed Georgian institutional reforms, including public service reforms, police reform and robust anti-corruption policies, the very spirit of liberalism and libertarianism in Georgia, in recent years,
have been complemented by socially oriented Governmental programmes in the areas of education, healthcare and business start-up support in various sectors of our diverse economy.
That positive and promising trend of our development has given a new impetus to our increased partnerships throughout African continent and specifically, with the Republic of South Africa.
South Africa – the Nation that, despite all odds, has established itself on the African Continent as a prosperous democracy, enshrining the principle of Unity in Diversity.
South Africa – the Nation that has played an increasingly important role on this Continent and beyond, in global affairs.
Recently, we have witnessed a tangible progress in bilateral relations between Georgia and the Republic of South Africa. With significant support from our DIRCO colleagues, important groundwork for advanced cooperation has been laid on State-to-State level as well as through private partnerships. We have also seen intensified business interactions and increased mutual awareness between the two nations.
Having this premise, we have even more positive expectations for the year to come.
In addition, we - the Embassy of Georgia Pretoria - have finalised our accreditations in Southern Africa and have advanced our political dialogue with the Republic of Mauritius, Republic of Zambia, Republic of Mozambique, Republic of Botswana and Republic of Madagascar. Currently, we are also at the final stage of Ambassadorial Accreditation in the Republic of Zimbabwe. I truly feel honoured to be the first Georgian Ambassador to these friendly nations and will not spare my efforts in further promoting
We are so much honoured to share with South Africa and with each and every of you, this Photo and Art Exhibition - "Georgia: A Fabulous Surprise", here at Edoardo Villa Museum, University of Pretoria Hatfield Campus.
Starting from tomorrow – 27 May 2015, the exhibition will be available for public viewing for next couple of months. This Exhibition offers a memorable travel through ancient Georgian manuscripts by means of photo-art; it includes masterful paintings of a Georgian artist; it also introduces Georgia as seen through the lenses of South Africans.
Embassy of Georgia Pretoria has put together this Exhibition, with indispensable support of Mr. Buba Kudava and Georgian National Centre of Manuscripts, Mr. Levan Mosiashvili - France-based Georgian Artist and regular South African citizens, who have visited Georgia and captured these beautiful photos.
Heartfelt words of gratitude, I have the honor to convey, to the University of Pretoria, and personally to the Vice Chancellor and the Principal of the University of Pretoria, Professor Cheryl de la Ray, to the Department of UP Arts and to Mr. Daniel Mosako - the Curator of Eduardo Villa Museum, for hosting this exhibition. Our warmest THANKS go to every individual, who contributed to this opportunity.
Among them, instrumental was also the expertise of Ms. Sanet Du Plessis. I THANK YOU ALL!
We have no doubt that after viewing this exhibition, more South Africans will be compelled to plan their travel to Georgia, for which, South African citizens do not need visas and enjoy the truly Fabulous Surprise of a lifetime.
In Georgia, you will find unmatched hospitality and the nation that genuinely loves its guests.
And now, Honourable Mr. Radebe, Dear Colleagues and Friends, allow me, with this unique Georgian wine, to propose a toast:
TO THE PEOPLE and THE GOVERNMENT OF SOUTH AFRICA
TO THE PEOPLE and THE GOVERNMENT OF GEORGIA
TO OUR FRINDSHIP and TO OUR COMMON BRIGHT FUTURE!