Kirkilas supports Georgia's Western aspirations

  • 2007-02-07
  • By Arturas Racas
VILNIUS - Lithuania will support the territorial integrity of Georgia and is ready to share its experience to assist the Caucasus republic on its way towards the European Union and NATO, Prime Minister Gediminas Kirkilas said during his three-day visit to Georgia.

"Georgia's disposition to join the Euro-Atlantic organizations is much stronger than is some other countries," Kirkilas said in an interview to Lithuanian public television on Feb. 4, the last day of the visit.
"Lithuania's assistance will not end with the statements about open doors. They asked for consultations on standardization, tax policy, implementation on EU laws, and we are ready to help," Kirkilas said.

While in Georgia, Kirkilas and the Lithuanian delegation held talks with Georgian President Michail Saakashvili, Prime Minister Zurab Nogadeli and Foreign Minister Gela Bezhuashvili.
"Georgia's sovereignty and territorial integrity are undivided," Petras Vaiteikunas, Lithuania's foreign minister stressed after the meeting with his counterpart, the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
It also said that the two ministers called for actions to solve the separatist conflicts in Georgia and stressed the importance of the European Union taking part in the process.

Georgia's Abkhazia and South Ossetia regions are de facto independent of Georgia and receive financial and military support from Russia. Georgia still regards the two regions as an integral part of Georgia.
Lithuania's Foreign Ministry in its statement also said that Georgia's Foreign Ministry supports Lithuania's drive to chair the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.

The cooperation in the energy sector between Lithuanian and Georgia was also discussed during the visit.
Saakashvili was invited to participate in a regional energy forum scheduled for this spring in Warsaw, and it was also agreed to hold a business forum during Georgia's prime minister's visit to Vilnius planned in March.
Kirkilas in his turn said that Lithuania is interested in Georgia's plans to import gas from Azerbaijan.

"There are plans to build a pipeline from Azerbaijan via Georgia and Turkey, and we are interested in this project," Kirkilas said.
Lithuanian media stressed that Kirkilas and the Lithuanian delegation enjoyed the immense hospitality shown them during the visit. It was crowned by an unconventional gesture by President Saakashvili, who exchanged the helm of state for the wheel of a Mercedes and gave Kirkilas a ride from the old Georgian capital of Mscheta to Tbilisi International Airport.
"He drove well, and I felt safe. And we had another half an hour to discuss important issues," Kirkilas said in an interview to Lietuvos Rytas.

All three Baltic states have shown unequivocal support for Georgia's integration into the West. During the NATO summit in Riga, for example, Latvian officials went to great lengths to ensure that Georgia's parliamentary speaker, Nino Burjanadze, was given red-carpet treatment.
Given the special relationship between the Baltic states and Georgia 's all former Soviet republics 's Brussels is keen to let the Baltics play a special role in helping integrate the Caucasian country.