Opening of the Korean Embassy in Tbilisi

With the opening of the Embassy of Georgia in Seoul in 2011, the relations between Georgia and the Republic of Korea became more dynamic, bringing headway in almost all fields, including development of the institutional base, strengthening of cultural ties and boosting political and economic cooperation. As a result of the Embassy’s strenuous efforts, several major goals have been successfully accomplished throughout 2014-2015. Two of these achievements deserve to be referred to as historic, and are of utmost importance for Georgia and its further relations with the Republic of Korea. 

Since 2012, the Embassy of Georgia has been actively engaging the Government of Korea to open its diplomatic mission in Tbilisi. Over the last years, a number of meetings were held with various high-ranking Korean officials at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the National Assembly and the Presidential Administration. Despite the budgetary and personnel cuts caused by restructuring of the government agencies, in late 2014 the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Korea finally made a principal decision to open its diplomatic mission in Tbilisi in 2015. Following a long process of formalities, in June 2015 the Korean Foreign Ministry officially announced that a high-ranking career diplomat was selected to head its diplomatic mission in Tbilisi. 

The opening of the Korean diplomatic mission is a historic milestone in our bilateral relations, which will further boost a mutually beneficial partnership between Georgia and the Republic of Korea. 

Another important achievement is the conclusion of the 3-year-long negotiations with the Korea Water Resources Development Corporation (K-water) on the construction of the Nenskra Hydro Power Plant (HPP) in Georgia’s Svaneti region. In cooperation with the Georgian Partnership Fund, our Embassy approached K-water on the issue back in 2012. After a successful start however, the dialogue was suspended. The Embassy’s active involvement made it possible to revive the stalled talks between the sides which eventually developed into a successful partnership. 

Following a series of intensive negotiations and biddings, on July 10, 2015, at the K-water headquarters in Daejeon, Salini Impregilo was selected as the preferred bidder for the Nenskra HPP construction. The Georgian side was represented by the Partnership Fund, international consultants (IFC) and the Embassy of Georgia. K-water is a Korean state-run corporation, with assets valued at over US$ 20 billion, and an annual turnover of around US$ 2 billion. Salini Impregilo is an Italian industrial group specializing in large-scale infrastructure projects. It operates in over 50 countries, employs 34400 people, and has a turnover of around 4.2 billion euro and a backlog of 32.4 billion euro. In July, K-water and Salini Impregilo signed an agreement in Tbilisi. The project will be implemented with the financial support of EBRD. The total cost of the project is estimated at US$ 1 billion. The 280 MW Nenskra HPP will be built on the Enguri river. The plant’s potential capacity will be 1.2 bln kWh. 

The plant will be put into operation in 2019, significantly boosting the generation capacity and improving the energy safety of Georgia. The project will provide new employment opportunities and income sources for the local population. And last but not least, the participation of such a prominent Korean company as K-water in a large-scale project in Georgia will be a further impetus for other Korean companies to explore business and investment opportunities in our country. A successful implementation of the Nenskra project will establish an environment more conducive to future partnerships with the Korean businesses.

Nikoloz Apkhazava
Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Georgia
 to the Republic of Korea