On 17 September in Tbilisi, Lithuanian Minister of Foreign Affairs Audronius Ažubalis and Foreign Ministers of Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Latvia and Romania stressed their support to Georgia’s aim to hold free and fair parliamentary elections.
“Georgia’s success story surprises and at the same time inspires many people. We strongly support the three important choices made by Georgia: the decision to continue the European and Euro-Atlantic integration process, willingness to further implement necessary reforms, and determination to organise free and fair elections,” Ažubalis said.
In Tbilisi, Ministers of five EU member states held meetings with Georgian Foreign Minister Grigol Vashadze and Chairman of the Parliament of Georgia David Bakradze. They discussed preparations for the parliamentary elections, which will be held on 1 October in Georgia. During the meetings, Ažubalis voiced strong support for Georgia’s European and Euro-Atlantic integration.
The Foreign Ministers also met with leader of the political coalition “Georgian Dream” Bidzina Ivanishvili and other representatives of the coalition. Ažubalis noted that generally recognized international observers would be able to make an objective assessment of the election process.
“We took the invitation of the Government of Georgia to ensure free and fair elections, so we are sending a large number of international observers. The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) has already opened an election observation mission in Georgia. We believe that only representatives from the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) rather than political parties themselves or some public relations agency can provide an impartial and objective assessment of the election process. The international community will trust its own observers,” the Lithuanian Foreign Minister said.
The Georgian parliamentary elections on 1 October will be monitored by the largest ever number of international observers. According to preliminary data various organisations and countries will be represented through almost 2.000 observers. Lithuania also attaches great importance to these elections and is sending 26 observers to Georgia.
On 17 September, Lithuanian, Bulgarian, the Czech, Latvian and Romanian Foreign Ministers are meeting with Georgia’s President Mikhail Saakashvili, Prime Minister Merabishvili, Giorgi Bokeria, Secretary of the National Security Council, and representatives from opposition parties and non-governmental organizations. The Ministers will also visit the EU Monitoring Mission in Georgia and will meet with its head Andrzej Tyszkiewicz.
On September 16, Ažubalis also met with Head of the NATO Liaison Office in Tbilisi, William Lahue.