The President of Georgia and the European Commissioner Stefan Fule held a joint press conference


Mikheil Saakashvili:

First of all, I would like to welcome Commissar Fule. We have a very longstanding good record of cooperation and joint work on every subject of our relations, and actually we hope that this will continue the same way. We are doing our best to put Georgia in good shape for the Vilnius Summit that is scheduled for November this year. It will be a last summit for me as President from this term, and from that point of view, I certainly have a strong stake and interest in Georgia succeeding in Vilnius, and being in good shape. That is why we had a very good discussion with a representative group from Brussels, together with the Commissioner; we had very good cooperation with the local mission of the European Commission with all the other representatives of the European Commission. We always have very frank and open dialogue and exchange of opinions. I think that I have to praise our negotiating team in Brussels that they were very good, and thank the European counterparts for bringing the negotiating process to its logical continuation and conclusion with the technical part of it, but now what really stays is a political part of it. Obviously, there are issues that are of great concerns for us here in Georgia, and for lots of Europeans. Obviously, we are also very open to discussing these matters together with Commissar Fule.


Stefan Fule:

Thank you very much President, ladies and gentlemen. I’m glad to be back in Tbilisi and have this excellent opportunity to meet with President Saakashvili. I will be coming back to your beautiful country just a couple of days to participate this year already in the 10th Batumi conference, and on that occasion I will also meet the prime-minister and other members of government. The pace of engagement between European Union and Georgia is accelerating. We have a lot of valuable deliverables in the pipeline and these will contribute to making the Eastern Partnership Vilnius Summit in November a success, and I could confirm what the President has said about the Association Agreement and this economic integration part of it. The President and I had a good meeting, discussed indeed a range of issues, EU – Georgia relations as well some important regional and global issues, recalled the importance of our engagement on shared values. This includes the absolute respect for democratic principles and rule of law. In this context I stressed the importance European Union attaches to constructive cohabitation and mutual respect and setting aside the partisan differences in the interest of country’s future is the only way to build a prosperous, pluralistic society. The style of leadership of Georgia needs at the time of transition an opportunity for the benefit of all citizens. In this respect I have especially appreciated the constructive approach taken by the parliament where cooperation has been good across partisans’ divides in order to make Georgian transition genuine success we still need to see further strengthening of its democratic institutions and deeper efforts to prevent polarization of the society. European Union fully respects

the pledge of the new government of the Georgian people to address any legacies of the past and we trust that this will be done in a full conformity with Georgia’s international obligations and European values and show that justice is fare and free of any political interference and presumption of innocence is of paramount importance, but of course without allowing impunity either. I call on all actors in Georgia politics to respectstate institutions and to refrain from instrumentalizing them for partisan purposes. Mr. President thank you very much!



Broadcasting Company Rustavi 2, Nino Samkurashvili: I would like to ask you a question regarding the Vilnius Summit. There is an expectation that the EU will make a certain decision regarding Georgia. It supports Georgia’s integration process, however skeptical statements are being made by high level EU officials recently regarding the existing situation in Georgia. I mean the lack of cohabitation and arrests of former high level officials. For example, the President of Estonia stated during an interview with “Komersant”: we are not stupid when it comes to assessing the situation in Georgia….what is your expectation and position regarding the Vilnius Summit in this context?


Stefan Fule:

The expectations of the Vilnius Summit are high. This is going to be a summit where we hope to have signature of Association Agreement with of one of our partners- Ukraine, based on the conditions created for that and hopefully, possibly initialization of the same Association Agreement including deep and comprehensive free trade area part of it at the same summit; for the first time bringing to this area a strong instrument for transformation of both countries, but also for the whole region. So the expectations are high. Now as far as the negotiations with Georgia we have reviewed the progress with the President. We hope very much that in the weeks to come we’ll be able to finalize those two or three opened issues relations on the economic integration part and thus create the conditions for the liberalization of visa action plan goes. Let’s see where we will be by the time of the summit. There is an ongoing assessment by the European Union, there might be a mission sent out over summer break to Georgia. Now, what is also important to be understood by all of us: the only success of the Vilnius could be guaranteed not only by initials, but also Georgia arriving to the summit as a stronger and not weaker democracy. We are of course following cohabitation very closely. Just made my introductory statement, some important calls, we are helping as much as we could with our delegations. President also appreciated it that the work also through the European Union adviser on the legal and constitutional reform and human rights. Together with high representative Catherine Ashton to express ourselves on the decisions to put in the detention the former prime-minister and secretary general of the UNM and we made it very clear and again I refer to that in my introductory

statement, no one is above the law but at the same time conditions need to be created of the free, transparent and impartial process guaranteeing all the rights of the particular person. As I have said that at the Vilnius Summit will be a success, I hope very much that Georgia will arrive at that summit as a stronger democracy.

Broadcasting Company Maestro, Ana Lapiasvhili: Mr. Commissioner I know there are big expectations regarding the Vilnius Summit. This expectation is also high from the side of the new government and the previous one as well. A lot of work has been done and the government was claiming that it was doing everything to meet the taken obligations. However, at the same time questions appeared and today the speaker of parliament stated that the West finds it hard to trust the new government. How real is the chance of emerging the issue of moving to a new stage considering this level of trust? I mean signing of the agreement. Secondly, you spoke about transport during your previous visit and stated that Europe must think about its borders and relationship in this direction should develop even more. What steps should Georgia make to start the new stage in terms of airlines?

Mr President. I will ask you regarding the Karsi-Akhalkalaki Railway. You have mentioned several times that this railway is important in terms of connecting with Europe. The Marabda Kartsakhi Organization replied to your statement and noted that the outrage you have expressed regarding its construction is not in line with the truth. Do you have any additional information in regard to this statement and do you have the same opinion regarding this construction?

Mikheil Saakashvili:

I listened to the government’s reaction. Unfortunately, I must underline the fact that a lot of infrastructural projects are postponed or cancelled during construction in Georgia. I also listened to what they made the Minister of Infrastructure to say that Lazika’s construction will continue. On the other hand they have removed all the signs where Lazika was mentioned. I arrived there personally and saw it. This was not shown on the television. As of the Karsi-Akhalkalaki Railway the construction has not stopped because it was based on an Azeri investment. But the construction slowed down like it happened in the case of Lazika. This construction was scheduled to end this year. One of the projects was to sign an Association Agreement with the EU but the talks are only going on about initiation, and this is the best Georgia can get right now. The Karsi-Akhalkalaki was my favorite project in a similar way. It coincided with the end of my Presidential term and I was going to open it. I was going to ride in the first car with the conductor and direct the train myself like I opened airports flying planes myself. This train was supposed to leave this year, but it will probably not do so until 2-3 years from now. I personally arrived at the construction of this tunnel and they cannot fool me. Unfortunately, I also discovered that the construction workers have not received their salaries for months. You can ask them yourself. Those videos are also posted on my Facebook page and everyone can see them. This year they are telling us: if the construction were to start this

year it will end in 456 days. Let’s count when this is supposed to be. Considering the fact that construction is not done during the winter season this will happen not next year but the following year. And do you know what that means in economy language? Transportation of Afghan cargo through Kari Akhalkalaki and Lazika Seaport, opening lots of businesses in Akhalkalaki and Samegrelo, employing hundreds of thousands of people and benefits for them have been crossed out. This happened only because they did not like the name Lazika because it was related to Saakashvili. And for this reason they left Samegrelo and regions around starving including Guria and a large part of Imereti. This project was fitted to Abkhazia and it had a great political meaning. Instead of being stubborn and going to sleep at 9pm, they better work and work so that the economy does not stay in a paused condition.