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Georgian President Visits London to Discuss Democracy and European Future

Salome Zurabishvili Attends Chatham House Event

President of Georgia Salome Zurabishvili left for Great Britain on February 27, 2024. On February 28, the president of Georgia will attend an event organized by Chatham House – the Royal Institute of International Affairs in London, in which politicians, diplomats, academics, business representatives and young people will participate.

At the event, it is planned to give a speech by the President of Georgia, after which the event will continue in question-and-answer modeChallenges facing democracy, the changing political balance of the South Caucasus, prospects for Georgia’s European future, relations between Tbilisi and Moscow, the impact of the war in Ukraine on Georgia and the upcoming parliamentary elections are discussed. At the event, the president will be hosted by the chairman of Chatham House, the director of the Eurasia program, James Nix.

The Royal Institute of International Affairs is a British think tank operating in London, whose purpose is to analyze and promote understanding of major international issues and current events.

Georgian President Visits London to Discuss Democracy and European Future

Georgia Seeks EU Candidacy Status Amid Political Crisis

The visit of the Georgian president to London comes at a pivotal moment of Georgia’s European path. Georgia is one of the six Eastern Partnership countries that aspire to join the European Union. Georgia has implemented a number of reforms and signed an Association Agreement with the EU in 2014, which includes a Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area.

However, Georgia’s EU integration process has been hampered by a prolonged political crisis that erupted after the disputed parliamentary elections in October 2020. The opposition parties have boycotted the parliament, accusing the ruling Georgian Dream party of rigging the vote and demanding new elections. The EU has mediated several rounds of talks between the government and the opposition, but no agreement has been reached so far.

The political deadlock has also affected Georgia’s relations with its strategic partners, such as the US and the EU. The EU has expressed its concern over the situation and urged the Georgian parties to find a compromise and respect the rule of law and democratic principles. The US has also called on Georgia to resolve the crisis and reaffirmed its support for Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.

Georgia hopes to obtain the EU candidacy status in 2024, which would be a significant step towards its European integration. However, this goal requires the Georgian political forces to do everything possible to use this historic opportunity, follow the EU recommendations and join the EU’s common foreign and security policy, including sanctions against Russia.

Georgia Strengthens Ties with Baltic States

Before arriving in London, the Georgian president also visited the Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, which are strong supporters of Georgia’s EU and Euro-Atlantic integration. The president met with the presidents of the three countries and discussed the bilateral and multilateral cooperation, the regional security and the challenges posed by Russia.

The Baltic states have been vocal in condemning the Russian aggression and occupation of Georgia’s territories of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, which occurred in 2008. They have also advocated for Georgia’s membership in NATO and the EU, and shared their experience of successful transition from the Soviet past to the European future.

The Georgian president thanked the Baltic leaders for standing with Georgia over the years and expressed her gratitude for their solidarity and friendship. She also invited them to visit Georgia and attend the Batumi International Conference, which will be held in July 2024 and will mark the 10th anniversary of the Eastern Partnership.

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