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Communiqué of the Ministerial Meeting of the New Group of Friends of Georgia

On June 25,2008 in Warsaw, Poland, the ministerial meeting of the New Group of Friends of Georgia (hereinafter - NGF) took place. Within the framework of the meeting, Mr Radoslaw Sikorski, Foreign Minister of Poland, conducted two sessions of political consultations. Both sessions were held in the presence of the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Georgia, Mrs Eka Tkeshelashvili. NGF was represented by Mr Karel Schwarzenberg, Foreign Minister of the Czech Republic, Mr Urmas Paet, Foreign Minister of the Republic of Estonia, Mr Petras Vaitiekunas, Foreign Minister of the Republic of Lithuania, Mrs Raduta Matache, Secretary of State in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Romania, Mr Frank Belfrage, Secretary of State in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Sweden, Mr Peteris Ustubs, Political Director of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Latvia and Mrs Maya Dobreva, Director of Europe III Department in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Bulgaria. Amb. Peter Semneby, EU Special Representative for the South Caucasus, Mr Robert Simmons, NATO Secretary General's Special Representative for Caucasus and Central Asia, Mr Matthew Bryza, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State of the United States and Mr Roman Buzek, Political Director General in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Slovakia, have participated in the meeting in the capacity of observers.

The participating NATO member states recalled the NATO Bucharest Summit Declaration, in which Allied Heads of State and Government agreed that Georgia will become a member of NATO. In this context, in the light of the significant progress achieved by Georgia in the process of Intensified Dialogue with NATO on Membership issues and on the basis of the authority delegated to the Ministers by the NATO Heads of State and Government at NATO Bucharest Summit, the participating NATO member states expressed strong support for granting MAP to Georgia at the December NATO Foreign Ministerial Meeting.

The NGF supported the strengthening of the EU-Georgia relations through the active continuation of EU-Georgia political dialogue and implementation of the ENP Action Plan. The ministers reconfirmed the importance of timely negotiation of the EU-Georgia visa regime in order to conclude the visa facilitation and readmission agreements with Georgia in the near future. The participants emphasized the need of strengthened EU-Georgia economic cooperation and gave their fuIl support to the start of negotiations on a EU-Georgia Free Trade Agreement in the nearest future.

The participants agreed that the Eastern Partnership, discussed and welcomed by the last European Council summit, could further enhance Georgia's cooperation with the EU and bring added value to the already existing EU-Georgia cooperation formats.

The Ministers reiterated their strong support for sovereignty and territorial integrity of Georgia as an important factor for the security and stability of Europe, taking into account the general concern referring to the conflicts in the region. In this context, the Ministers expressed their support for the initiatives of the Georgian authorities regarding peaceful resolution of the conflicts in Abkhazia and South Ossetia, Georgia including the recent peace-initiative by President M. Saakashvili on Abkhazia, Georgia. The Ministers believe that concerned parties should redouble their efforts to build trust and to find an appropriate framework for negotiations, including direct Georgian-Abkhaz talks. The Ministers have also stressed the necessity to have a more effective negotiation and peace-keeping formats.

In this regard the Ministers stressed the importance of more active involvement of the European Union in the settlement of the conflicts in Georgia, including through confidence-building measures and an increased EU presence on the ground.

The participants emphasized the importance of good neighbourly relations between Georgia and the Russian Federation and the need of reducing the tension in their bilateral relations that occurred last months. The Ministers called upon the Russian Federation to reverse the recent steps undertaken in relation to Abkhazia, Georgia, including by revoking the decree of April 16, 2008 and swift withdrawal of troops and equipment, deployed in violation of international agreements and the peacekeeping operation mandate.

The participants agreed to continue intensive dialogue through the network of meetings at different levels in the NGF format.

Warsaw, 25 June 2008

 
 
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