Meetings & Visits

President Saakashvili meets Greek counterpart Karolos Papoulias

Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili has arrived in Greece for a two-day visit. Today he held a face-to-face meeting with his Greek counterpart Karolos Popoulias.

A wider meeting between the Georgian government delegation and Greek officials was also held. At a joint briefing afterwards, the presidents discussed the historical relations between the two countries. Saakashvili expressed his hope that Georgians and Greeks would return to Abkhazia together.

The Georgian and Greek heads of state agreed to deepen military cooperation and intensify trade relations. It was also decided to hold joint business forums both in Greece and Georgia. In addition, the Greek president decided to allot special stipends to Georgian students that will allow them to continue their studies in Greece. Karolos Popoulias spoke about the historical friendship between the Greek and Georgian peoples and noted that this friendship had now grown into political cooperation. The Greek president also expressed his country's full support for Georgia's aspiration to integrate with Euro-Atlantic structures.

Saakashvili said at the briefing: "Italian-Georgian, Estonian-Georgian and Ukrainian-Georgian wineries are functioning in Georgia, but the first ever joint winery was Georgian-Greek. We take decisions on all issues with the interests of each and every citizen in mind. Today there is a very large number of ethnic Georgians living in Greece and a large number of people of Greek origin living in Georgia. We view these people as our citizens irrespective of what country's citizenship they have received.

"The Greek navy came to Sukhumi as it was in flames at the end of the war and evacuated tens of thousands of ethnic Greeks and ethnic Georgians even as it came under separatist fire. Now only a tenth of Sukhumi's pre-war population is living the city. It is our wish that everyone who once lived there return, including Greeks. I know the nostalgia you have for Georgia, for Abkhazia and for Sukhumi," Saakashvili said.

In his opening remarks at the briefing, Saakashvili commented on the snap parliamentary elections held on 30 September in Ukraine. He said that approximately 200 election monitors from Georgia had observed the poll and positively assed the way it was held.

In telephone conversations with Yulya Tymoshenko and Viktor Yushchenko, Saakashvili said that Ukraine had a real chance to form a wide democratic coalition.

"Ukraine has a unique chance to form a wide democratic coalition, something which would create an altogether new reality for that country and for the region as a whole, including Georgia, and, of course, Europe. I urge the entire democratic world to show active moral support to the Ukrainian people, who have withstood a very difficult democratic test," the Georgian president said.

Also today, Saakashvili held a meeting with Greek Parliament President Dimitris Sioufas and opposition leader Georgios Papandreou.

Press Office
of the President of Georgia

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