During her brief visit in Tbilisi on November 26, EU foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton, urged President Saakashvili and PM Bidzina Ivanishvili “to continue to use their offices and institutions to contribute constructively to Georgia’s good governance.”
She also called to all sides in the Georgian politics “to uphold European values of democracy, freedom and rule of law.”
“There should be no selective justice, no retribution against political rivals. Investigations into past wrongdoings must be and must be seen to be impartial, transparent and in compliance with due process,” Ashton said in a press statement after the meetings in Tbilisi.
Ashton, who stayed in Tbilisi for few hours before embarking on her tour in Central Asia, met PM Ivanishvili and then President Saakashvili.
PM Ivanishvili, who met Ashton in presence of Foreign Minister Maia Panjikidze, said that his government was committed to Georgia’s EU and NATO integration.
“We have stressed the [need] for deeper trade relations with the EU, liberalization of visa requirements and to manage, if not [possible to] sign, at least to initial Association Agreement before [the Eastern Partnership] summit in Vilnius [later next year],” PM Ivanishvili said.
The Prime Minister said that Georgian people’s “historic dream” about the European integration “is realistic and our government will do everything in order to speed up this process.”
President Saakashvili met Ashton in presence of Foreign Minister Maia Panjikidze; Secretary of National Security Council Giga Bokeria and President’s advisor Raphael Glucksmann. Saakashvili then continued talks with EU foreign policy chief one-on-one, according to the President’s administration.
Ashton said that she welcomed “continuity in Georgia’s commitment to the Association Agreement and Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area negotiations.”
“We continue to make rapid progress in these negotiations and I am hopeful we will conclude our negotiations in a relative short timeframe,” she said.
She also said that she had invited Georgia to begin negotiations with the EU on the framework agreement for Georgia’s participation in EU crisis management operations.