President Zurabishvili Visits Kyiv

After arriving on her first official visit to Kyiv on June 22, Georgian President Salome Zurabishvili today met with her Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelenskyy. During her two-day visit to the Ukrainian capital, President Zurabishvili is accompanied by Deputy Parliament Speaker Levan Ioseliani, among others.

Following their meeting, the two leaders delivered press statements at the Mariyinsky Palace. President Zelenskyy underlined that the political dialogue between Tbilisi and Kyiv is gaining new momentum, adding that the joint mission of the two countries is to add substance to their strategic relations through mutual projects and enhancing trust.

The Ukrainian President stated that Georgia and Ukraine share EU and NATO integration as common goals, as well as agree regarding the future development of the Eastern Partnership.

President Zelenskyy also highlighted that strengthening security cooperation in the Black Sea region is an important task for Tbilisi and Kyiv, adding that the two countries seek to enhance the relationship between the fleets of partner states.

On her part, President Zurabishvili said it is disappointing that Georgia and Ukraine “lost some time that should have been used to deepen relations,” alluding to the almost year-long hiatus in relations, following President Zelenskyy’s decision to appoint former Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili as the chair of Ukraine’s Executive Reform Committee.

“Our relations are returning to its norm,” the Georgian President went on, stressing that Presidents of both Ukraine and Georgia should treat these relations with care. She highlighted that the two countries are united by their common goals, including de-occupation, EU and NATO membership, as well as deepening bilateral and regional ties.

Asserting that “daily provocations” from Russia along the occupation line “cannot continue,” including movement restrictions and abductions, President Zurabishvili underscored that the Georgian authorities are doing everything in their power to ensure the release of detained Georgian citizen Zaza Gakheladze.

The Georgian President also highlighted that the two countries’ path to de-occupation is “a peaceful path,” and called on Moscow to also agree to abstain from the use of force. “Dialogue requires de-escalation,” President Zurabishvili stressed.

Regarding President Zelenskyy’s Crimean Platform initiative, set for late August, the Georgian President said Tbilisi and Kyiv will coordinate to decide who will represent Georgia at this event.

Before concluding her visit, President Zurabishvili is also expected to meet with Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal and Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada Dmytro Razumkov.

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