On 11 January, Lithuania’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Linas Linkevičius and Georgian Foreign Minister Maia Panjikidze, who is paying an official visit to Lithuania, signed the annual action plan for 2013 set out in the Lithuania-Georgia Charter on European and Euro-Atlantic integration.
This is already the fourth annual action plan, which identifies concrete cooperation measures for the Lithuanian and Georgian Foreign Ministries.
During the bilateral meeting, Linkevičius voiced strong support to the determination of the new Georgian Government, which was formed after Georgia’s parliamentary elections on 1 October 2012, to continue to actively seek the European and Euro-Atlantic integration. Panjikidze was assured that Lithuania was ready to continue to support Georgia on this path. The Minister also called on political forces in Georgia to stay focused and to carry out the reforms that are necessary for the achievement of its objectives. Linkevičius also stressed the importance of the rule of law and urged to avoid actions, which could be seen as persecution of political opponents.
Linkevičius briefed the guest about Lithuania’s preparations for the Presidency of the Council of the European Union in the second half of this year. The Eastern Partnership initiative is among key priorities of Lithuania’s Presidency. The 3rd Eastern Partnership Summit will be held on 28-29 November in Vilnius. Georgia is one of the six countries that are participating in the Eastern Partnership initiative.
The Minister stressed that Georgia was making good progress in negotiations with the EU on the Association Agreement, as well as visa dialogue, and expressed hope that concrete and substantial results would be achieved in Georgia’s relations with the EU at the Eastern Partnership Summit.
When discussing bilateral relations, Lithuanian Foreign Minister pointed out that according to trading volumes, Georgia was Lithuania’s most important economic partner in the South Caucasus for the second consecutive year. He also drew attention to some challenges related to the investment climate that the Lithuanian business community was facing in Georgia.
During the discussion on security policy, the Ministers focused on Georgia’s preparations for NATO membership. The Lithuanian Foreign Minister highlighted Georgia’s contribution to the Mission of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan.