Georgian, Bulgarian PMs Discuss Bilateral Ties, Black Sea Cooperation

Georgian Prime Minister Mamuka Bakhtadze paid a brief visit to Sofia on April 16, and held a meeting with his Bulgarian counterpart, Prime Minister Boyko Borissov, and President Rumen Radev.

According to the Georgian PM’s press office, Bakhtadze and Borissov pledged to deepen their countries’ bilateral and regional cooperation, including in the fields of trade, energy and transport connection.

At a joint press statement after the meeting, PM Bakhtadze said Georgia and Bulgaria share “a long history of traditionally close and friendly relations,” and “vibrant cooperation in many areas of common interest.”

“We are connected geographically: the Black Sea builds a natural bridge between us, offering unique opportunities and bearing huge potential that we are committed to exploit, especially in the fields of transport,” he said, adding that the sides paid “particular attention” to intensifying ferry corrections between Georgian and Bulgarian ports.

Prime Minister Bakhtadze also thanked the Bulgarian counterpart for his country’s “strong support” of Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, as well as of its European and Euro-Atlantic aspirations.

The Bulgarian Prime Minister confirmed in his statement Sofia’s support of Georgia’s EU and NATO membership aspirations, and stressed the important transit role of Georgia in the Black Sea region.

PM Borissov also said in coming months, there will be a new fiber optic cable laid in the Black Sea from Bulgaria to Georgia, allowing countries of the region to use high-speed internet. He said there are investors from Georgia who are willing to finance the project.

Georgia’s trade turnover with Bulgaria, according to the National Statistics Office, Geostat, stood at USD 440.5 million in 2018, with exports at USD 258.9 million (USD 186.9 million in 2017) and imports at USD 181.6 million (USD 155.5 million in 2017). Bulgaria was Georgia’s ninth largest trading partner in 2018.

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