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Georgia Independence Day

26 May 2017

Ambassador Beka Dvali of Georgia in South Africa hosted a reception to celebrate the Day of Independence of Georgia, a day that every Georgian cherishes, he said.

In his welcoming remarks Ambassador Dvali emphasized the strides that Georgia has made both regionally and in the international arena. He said that never before in their history has Georgia featured so prominently in its democratic credentials, economic freedom, ease of doing business and anti-corruption drive.

Speaking of strengthened cooperation between Georgia and South Africa Ambassador Dvali said, "We believe the scene is set for us to see even higher-level political interactions between the two countries in the coming year. Among other issues, we also hope that our South African partners will continue to consider reciprocating Georgia’s visa free regime, already several years operational for South African citizens. Reciprocation on this matter could facilitate more people-to-people and business-to-business interactions."

Address by H.E. Mr. Beka Dvali, Ambassador of Georgia on the occasion of the Independence Day of Georgia

26 May 2017
 
Me, my wife Nino, my son Luka, and my dear colleagues and their families from the Embassy of Georgia in Pretoria, are delighted to host you tonight on this big occasion - the Day of Independence of Georgia – the day that every Georgian cherishes and stands for.

We are so proud that despite numerous challenges throughout our history, including in recent years, in an extremely turbulent international scene, Georgian democracy has never been so upbeat, so much integrated with its European neighborhood and also so much capable of focusing and acting globally. Never before in our history, has Georgia featured so prominently in its democratic credentials, economic freedom, ease of doing business and anti-corruption drive.

Recent 12 months have been another testament to our irreversible strides to embrace. Firstly. our neighborhood – Europe. In addition to previously concluded Association Agreement and the commencement of the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade with European Union, from 28 March 2017, Georgian citizens have also started to enjoy visa free travel into Schengen Area. This latest milestone is indicative of the values and the standards we believe in and we share. And it is not the end of our European aspirations. In modern times, when somehow Euro-sceptics have multiplied, we Georgians strongly believe in reinvigorated European Union, which will continue to lead by example. And GEORGIA will be part of it – sooner rather than later.

But apart from our regional aspirations in our European Neighborhood, Dear Friends, Georgia has also been increasing impressively its global presence and global partnerships, including in Africa.  Availing myself of this opportunity, I would like to congratulate all our African friends with Africa Day that was celebrated just yesterday!

Having the Embassy here in Pretoria we consider being an exceptional privilege. For us - Georgians South Africa is a vibrant democracy and a resilient economy. We do believe: this is the NATION that, despite all odds, has established its own unique track record of democratic transformation; it is the Nation that moves forward boldly, looking optimistically into its inevitable, brighter future.

Last year, we saw strengthened cooperation between Georgia and South Africa in multilateral frameworks as well as bilaterally. And I would like to reflect on a couple of examples of such collaboration: In June 2016, Georgia hosted Second Round of Senior Officials Consultations between the two countries; through Embassy’s cooperation with South Africa-Georgia Chamber of Commerce (SAGCC), new promising business partnerships started to emerge; twinning arrangement between Cape Winelands District Municipality and Georgian wine Region of Kakheti was initiated; interaction in Rugby intensified, latest example being Western Province Rugby Academy’s U20 Team visiting Georgia ahead of U20 World Cup to be hosted by our capital Tbilisi from next week. And these are only few examples of recent bilateral interactions. Dr. Gerald Wolman, honorary Consul of Georgia in Cape Town as well as Mr. Marius Heyns, the Chairman of South Africa Georgia Chamber of Commerce have been instrumental in promoting bilateral ties.

At the same time, we believe the scene is set for us to see even higher-level political interactions between the two countries in the coming year. Among other issues, we also hope that our South African partners will continue to consider reciprocating Georgia’s visa free regime, already several years operational for South African citizens. Reciprocation on this matter could facilitate more people-to-people and business-to-business interactions.

Our Embassy in Pretoria is also privileged to also provide for the diplomatic coverage of 11 more SADC countries. These are: Angola, Botswana, DRC, Lesotho, Madagascar, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe. I have already presented my letters of credence in 9 of those coverage countries, in three of them - since October 2016, specifically: on 12 October - to H.E. Dr. Hage Geingob, the President of the Republic of Namibia; on 29 November - to H.E. Mr. Jose Eduardo Dos Santos, the President of the Republic of Angola; and on 9 March 2017 - to His Majesty King Letsie III of the Kingdom of Lesotho. I also expect to present my letters of credence in Swaziland and in DRC shortly.

We try to institutionalize our relations with African peers as much as we can, making every step count in the process. Earlier this year, on 16 March, we had the privilege of holding the first-ever, Deputy Ministers Level political consultations with Mozambique in Maputo. And enhanced political dialogue has been launched with all other countries of accreditation.
I am also pleased to announce that the Government of the Republic of Mauritius has recently introduced visa free regime for the citizens of Georgia. This new arrangement is already operational. By this step, Mauritius has reciprocated to Georgia, already having visa free regime for the citizens of Mauritius. We are grateful to the Government of Mauritius for this reciprocal gesture!
Ladies and Gentlemen,

Georgia continues to play an important role on international arena, with our active engagements on topical issues of global affairs within the United Nations system and beyond. We stand out as a reliable partner and contributor to international security efforts globally, including in Afghanistan, Central African Republic and Mali.

And we have another recent positive development: On 12 May 2017, UNWTO Executive Council recommended Georgian citizen, Current Ambassador to Spain and UNWTO, H.E. Mr. Zurab Pololikashvili, as a nominee Secretary General for the four-year period starting from January 2018. This is also indicative firstly to Georgia’s credentials and achievements in tourism but also to the contribution that Georgian citizens continue to play in global affairs. I would like to underline – Georgian nominee to lead the UNWTO has a full understanding of the challenges in tourism that our African partners have and he is committed to contribute to overcoming these challenges as much as possible.

Excellences, Dear Friends,

Georgian successes, our achievements, our democracy, in general, will not be whole, will not be complete until the territorial integrity of Georgia is restored, until the Russian soldiers, currently illegally stationed on our territories, depart home and until hundreds of thousands of Georgians – having been subjected to ethnic cleansing from the occupied territories, return to their ancestral homes.  For all these to happen, Georgia continues to be committed to peaceful resolution, continues to entertain Strategic Patience and continues to rely on international solidarity, based on the United Nations Charter and International Law that is our strongest ally.

I would like to thank each and every State represented here for your continued adherence to international law that guards us, for your understanding of our just cause and for your solidarity!

And in this context, I cannot but mention one of the recent vivid examples of the solidarity that was accorded to us by our friend and strategic ally – the United States. Namely, the Consolidated Appropriations Act for 2017, recently passed by the United States Congress, states that no American financial support will be accorded to any Government that recognises the so called independence of the Russian-occupied Georgian territories of Abkhazia and Tskhinvali Region/South Ossetia. The Act also states that none of the funds appropriated by this Act may be made available to support the Russian occupation of the Georgian territories of Abkhazia and Tskhinvali Region/South Ossetia. We thoroughly appreciate this strong message in support of our Sovereignty and Territorial Integrity from a genuine friend.

In closing, allow me to raise the toast, with this glass full of my favorite wine – Georgian red, Saperavi - to you all, to all our brothers and sisters in this beautiful country, to the strengthening friendship between Georgia and South Africa, to H.E. Mr. Jacob Zuma, the President of South Africa and to H.E. Mr. Giorgi Margvelashvili, the President of Georgia!  Long live our Nations! 

 


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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November/December 2018

 
 
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