Prague Considers Georgia as Its Most Important Ally in the Region

Op-Ed by H.E. Ambassador of Georgia to the Czech Republic, Mr. Zaal Gogsadze

At the outset I would like to touch upon the specific environment established after the Presidential and Parliamentary elections in which the Embassy had to work. As a result of contradictory statements and the media coverage of the issues that are fundamental for EU or NATO member states, the creation of Highest Council of Coordination on Foreign Policy was decided and thus Foreign Ministry shared its leading role with MoD, PM, relevant committees of both chambers of Parliament and Administration of the President. For our Embassy that meant doubling efforts in order to make new contacts and engage more players to reach our goals.

Cooperation on Legislative level: Parliaments of Georgia and Czech Republic exchanged two working visits; as a result the Senate of Czech Republic adopted a resolution fully supporting to our Euro-Atlantic aspirations. Third delegation, consisting of members of the Defence Committee of Lower Chamber will soon arrive in Tbilisi and we already had signals that their supportive position will be reflected in relevant documents. I’m sure on the eve of Warsaw NATO ministerial every positive document matters. Our new friends in the Parliament were very instrumental during the process of ratification by national parliament of the AA between Georgia and EU. I have to stress the enthusiasm of the new head of inter parliamentary friendship group (Mr.Igor Iakubcik). Who communicated on almost every day basis with Czech Minister of Foreign Affairs Mr.Zaoralek and consulted with the Embassy to find appropriate short cut solutions in order to have the signed document on the table in time. We continue to look for new friends from right wing or centrist political entourage. I think that establishment of good relations with Christian Democrats leadership; particularly with Deputy Secretary General of the Party Ondrzej Beneshik will be an asset in the nearest future.

Cooperation between Georgian and Czech governmental agencies and local councils: during this period the embassy actively worked on the issues connected to the strengthening of Ministry to Ministry cooperation. In that regard I would like to stress with deep appreciation the readiness of our Czech partners to share their experience in transformation and reforms, particularly groups of civil servants from the ministries of Justice, Environmental protection and Health were hosted and provided with very useful trainings free of any charge.

We suggested to our Czech partners to start consultations on the subject of cooperation between Vake district of Tbilisi and Prague 6 administration, subsequently delegation of Prague 6 visited Tbilisi and putted the tomb in the square which is named after the President Havel. Members of Vake council proved their readiness to pay reciprocal visit on October and to sign the Memorandum on cooperation between two local administrations. We consider the working visit of the Mayor of Tbilisi, Mr.Narmania and his first contact with Czech counterpart very important. Discussions initially planned for 30 minuts were last more than 1 hour and almost all important issues of bilateral interest were touched upon. During his stay in Prague Mayor of Tbilisi met with local businessmen’s and presented conditions for starting business in Tbilisi. Mr.Narmania invited representatives of Czech business to Tbilisi.

Embassy spares no efforts in order to organize bilateral visits of highest executives. Aside from Minister Beruchashvili, Minister of Justice, Defence and Environmental Protection visited Prague. During the history of our relations it was first official visit of Georgian Minister of Defence to Czech Republic.  I would like to summarize and evaluate briefly all above mentioned events with one phrase: Czech Republic will firmly continue to support our country in all our endeavours and Prague considers us as the most important ally in the region. On November 12 Prime Minister Georgian will visit Prague; of course we anticipated very positive discussions and tangible results. This sort of anticipation confirmed by the informal signals from Czech colleagues.

I have to underline excellent communication and cooperation with the Embassy of Czech Republic in Tbilisi and H.E. Tomas Pernicky. Exchange of information between the two embassies on regular basis proved to be very useful.

The logical ending to the year 2015 will be the performance of our superstar piano player Eliso Bolkavdze in Prague where she will be promoting her new album. Madame Eliso decided to donate all the income from concert to Czech-American Non Profit Organization “Diakonie”, which carries out projects around the globe, inclusive Georgia, aimed to helping people with physical and mental disabilities in becoming full and respectfully integrated into the society.