At his meeting in Tbilisi today with Georgian Foreign Minister Gregory Vashadze, Foreign Minister Urmas Paet confirmed Estonia’s support for Georgia’s efforts to join NATO and strengthen ties with the European Union. “We support holding a discussion on the further enlargement of NATO at the next NATO foreign ministers’ meeting in December; we also support having a meeting of the NATO-Georgia Council within the framework of the meeting,” said Paet.
According to the Estonian foreign minister, negotiations with Georgia are going well within the framework of European Union Eastern Partnership. “Hopefully negotiations for an Association Agreement will wrap up next year and the action plan for a visa waiver can be approved this year,” said Paet. “Negotiations for a Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement between the EU and Georgia have started successfully. Concluding the agreement will ensure better opportunities for Georgian businesses on the European Union market and vice versa.”
The foreign ministers also talked about the parliamentary elections taking place in Georgia on 1 October. “Naturally, the elections must be free and all political powers must accept the results of these free elections,” Paet noted.
During their meeting, foreign ministers Paet and Vashadze also signed an implementation agreement for the agreement on the readmission of persons illegally residing in the country, which is a part of immigration-related co-operation. “We hope that the recognition of the special travel document (Status Neutral Travel Document – SNTD) held by residents of Georgia’s occupied areas will help to improve their freedom of movement,” Paet said. He stated that in the near future Estonia would also like to conclude an international road transport agreement, social security agreement, and agreement on co-operation in tourism with Georgia.
At their meeting Paet expressed satisfaction over the fact that representatives of Georgia have actively taken advantage of the opportunities offered by the Centre of Eastern Partnership in Tallinn and confirmed that Estonia will continue to support the implementation of reforms and strengthening of civil society in Georgia through development co-operation. “We have compiled a Georgia strategy for the years 2012-2015 to better plan co-operation with Georgia, establish priorities by sector, and set long-term goals,” said the Estonian foreign minister.
Estonia also feels it is very important to continue the activities of the EU Monitoring Mission (EUMM) in at least its current capacity.
At their meeting the foreign ministers also spoke about co-operation in the OSCE, the Council of Europe, and the UN. They also spoke about Estonia’s candidature to be a member of the UN Human Rights Council from 2013-2015.
This morning Foreign Minister Paet placed a wreath on the memorial to those that have lost their lives fighting for Georgia’s integrity.
While in Tbilisi, Paet also has meetings scheduled with Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili, Parliament Speaker David Bakradze, and Prime Minister Ivane Merabishvili. The foreign minister also plans to meet with representatives of the Georgian opposition.
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