Mounting cooperation with the states of the Pacific 

It is my honour and privilege to serve as the first Georgian Ambassador to Australia. I am also accredited in New Zealand and Pacific Island Nations: Samoa, Fiji, Solomon Islands, Tuvalu and Vanuatu. Despite the distance between Georgia and the Pacific region, Georgia has made it as its foreign policy priority to develop cooperation and positive agenda in order to increase Georgia’s outreach and look for new opportunities for mutually beneficial partnerships in both bilateral and multilateral fora.  

Both Australia and New Zealand represent important value based partners for Georgia as well as exemplar states for Georgia’s continued democratic transformation. For this reason the embassy’s major occupation throughout the year had been to reinforce inter-parliamentary cooperation as well as the political dialogue and exchange. This year, Embassy facilitated the creation of a new inter-parliamentary friendship group in the Parliament of Australia, consisting of 22 members. We are currently working on mutual visits in order to expand inter-parliamentary cooperation and exchange of experience among law-makers. In the same spirit, throughout the year I have delivered speeches and attended hearings with relevant committees of the Parliaments of Australia and New Zealand about Georgia, the ongoing security situation, humanitarian situation in the occupied territories and the ongoing plight of IDP’s and Refugees. In addition, promoting further political dialogue, strengthening cultural ties and economic cooperation as well as people to-people contacts between our countries remains a constant working agenda for the Embassy. 

One important area I would single out from this year’s events is our effort to expand cooperation between Georgia and the host country in the education sector. Australia is lauded for its excellent higher education institutions. The embassy has worked during the year to make scholarship quotas available for Georgia in the Endeavor State Scholarship Program, which is a program provided by the Australian Government that supports citizens around the world to undertake study, research and professional development in Australia‘s state of the art higher education institutions. The Australian side agreed to add Georgia in the participating countries list in 2016 while from 2017 scholarships will also be available to Georgian students. 

The embassy has been active in promoting Georgia’s bilateral relations with pacific island nations as well. In our relations with the Pacific states we have tried to promote a positive cooperation agenda by sharing our own reforms experience as well as cooperating in humanitarian affairs including culture and education; supporting these nations’ concerns and agenda regarding climate change issues in multilateral organizations. Most notably, this year Embassy celebrated Georgia’s Independence Day on Fiji for the first time. The Event was attended by Fijian high officials, diplomatic corps and distinguished citizens. Although symbolic, nonetheless, this was a groundbreaking and historic event in the relations between Georgia and Fiji and the entire Pacific region. 

These efforts have contributed to raising awareness about Georgia which in turn also helped to counter the negative and false propaganda about Russia-Georgian conflict as well as addressing the lack of information about security situation in our corner of the world, hence facilitating the process of restoration of the Pacific Island nations’ respect towards Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognized borders (notably, both Vanuatu and Tuvalu reversed their previous recognition of Georgia’s occupied regions). 

Embassy will remain committed to building bridges and promoting mutually beneficial cooperation with the States in the Pacific. 

H.E. Mr. Vladimer Konstantinidi
Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Georgia to Australia