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Information on the meeting between the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Georgia and the OSCE Chairman-in-Office/Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Finland

On 27 February Minister of Foreign Affairs of Georgia David Bakradze met with OSCE Chairman-in-Office/Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Finland Ilkka Kanerva.  The meeting was attended by President of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly, Goran Lennmarker.

The sides underlined the need of intensifying the OSCE Mission’s activity in Georgia and discussed the issues of Georgia on the OSCE agenda. Mr. Kanerva pledged that one of the priorities during Finland’s chairmanship of OSCE will be peaceful resolution of the conflicts in Georgia and OSCE’s active engagement in this process.  

Discussions also focused on the preparation of forthcoming parliamentary elections scheduled for spring in Georgia and OSCE’s involvement in the monitoring process. The Georgian side already sent official invitations to the international organizations, including OSCE.

Following the meeting, the sides held a joint press conference.

Transcript of Joint Press Conference

Mr. David Bakradze:

Greetings! I am glad to welcome again our guests, members of such high-level delegation. I have the honour to introduce to you OSCE Chairman-in-Office/Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Finland, Georgia’s long-standing supporter and friend, who does a great deal for the improvement of relations with Georgia. In his capacity of OSCE Chairman-in-Office and as a person, he can play an exceedingly important role in the ongoing processes in Georgia and we welcome activation of relations in both directions.

Allow me to present a member of the delegation, President of the OSCE parliamentary Assembly Goran Lennmarker.

I want to give my own appraisal of this meeting. I think today’s meeting was very good, very open, constructive and friendly. We discussed the issues on the agenda of cooperation between Georgia and OSCE. Such issues are several, first and foremost resolution of the conflicts and the situation, first of all, in the Tskhinvali region/South Ossetia. As you are aware OSCE has a leading role to perform in the conflict settlement process. OSCE has done a great deal of work in this field. However, there are a number of directions where we can join our efforts and achieve a considerable progress. Reference here is made to the need of increasing the number of monitors, joint control of a number of strategic areas, for example Didi Gufta, and political side of the conflict resolution process in general.

We also focused on the elections, which is also a very important issue in Georgia’s relations with OSCE. We made a survey of assessments of the past presidential elections by both sides and outlined the steps we will take together during the lead-up to the forthcoming parliamentary elections. The Georgian side remains absolutely open. I once again reaffirmed openly our readiness and willingness to receive as many observers as possible from OSCE and member countries of the OSCE parliamentary Assembly that will enable us to conduct parliamentary elections in an open, democratic and transparent manner, in line with the practice of traditionally democratic European countries.

I am glad to note the high interest and readiness of our guests to offer us their assistance and involvement to ensure proper parliamentary elections in Georgia.

We also highlighted bilateral issues concerning relations between Georgia and Finland. The issues were quite many and this meeting could not cover all of them.

 

Mr. Ilkka Kanerva:

Thank you very much for your kind and warm words. It was a great pleasure to come here.

I confirm Minister’s words about very open-minded and friendly discussions we had with my colleague. I would like to emphasize very constructive atmosphere of our meeting. I highly appreciate that kind of contacts.

So, South Caucasus is very-very high on the agenda of the Finnish OSCE Chairmanship and why it is in that way. The reason is that this geographical and political region is very important not only on the OSCE, but EU’s agenda as well. I decided to visit Tbilisi in very early of my period of Chairmanship-in-Office in OSCE. My visit is a follow-up of the successful visit of your president and his delegation to Finland last October in Helsinki. I am here at a vital time for Georgia. It means that all political forces are concentrated on the parliamentary elections that will take place in May. Both presidential and parliamentary elections are extremely important for the development of the nation and the state. We in the OSCE expect that Georgia will strive for highest international standards, which will be fulfilled by Georgia on the OSCE and international level in next parliamentary elections. Elections will provide both the Government and opposition, and I want to mention that I met with some representatives of opposition this morning, with a new opportunity to demonstrate Georgian progress towards pluralistic democracy, that, in my mind, is the main way towards national development. I commend my college on the fact that Georgian authorities already invited international election monitors and this is a very positive phenomenon. They are opening their doors to international observers and I welcome this kind of activity.

I also underline the importance of maintaining and deepening the constructive dialogue between the Government and opposition. This dialogue will improve the electoral system in Georgia. I want to say that OSCE stands ready to help your authorities in Georgia to use and to follow recommendations included in the interim report of the OSCE and use the help and advice of the OSCE mission in Georgia.  For me it is particularly easy to recommend the services of the local OSCE mission, since it is led by Mrs. Terhy Hakkala and I think that her profile is not too lower at all and I am very proud of that.

Main focus of our debate was on the upcoming elections, but also shortly on the frozen conflicts. Your commitments and efforts to improve relations with Russia are very important and quite positive. I hope you will actively continue these efforts of collaboration and dialogue with Russia. Improving relations with Russia would contribute to the regional stability and prosperity. I also would like to underline Georgian-Ossetian conflict, it would be important to give to the negotiation process a new momentum. Constructive dialogue aims at the peaceful resolution of the conflict is very necessary. Territorial integrity of Georgia must be respected in this sense. These are things that we touched upon during our discussions.

Thank you.  

27 February 2008

 
 
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