The Deepening of Georgia-Greece Relation is the Goal of the Embassy of Georgia

Op-ed of the Ambassador of Georgia to the Hellenic Republic
Mr. Ioseb Nanobashvili

It’s been several weeks since I have assumed duties of Ambassador of Georgia to the Hellenic Republic. My term in office has started in a very critical moment for Greece and its people, as the negotiations with creditors and international partners over the bailout program were brought to a halt, Capital Controls on financial transactions have been imposed and the so-called “bank holiday” entered into force.

 

The restrictions on cash withdrawals and international money transfers created extremely difficult conditions for all residents of the Country, including some 150 000 Georgians. The Embassy of Georgia and its consular services in Athens and Thessaloniki, in coordination with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia instantly responded to the emerging challenges by taking the necessary steps: some most needed and urgent consular services had been carried out free of charge, rest of the services were conducted in accordance to the special financial arrangements, in a very efficient manner.

 

Furthermore, the force majeure activities on the ground had been supplemented by high level visits from the Capital. The deputy Foreign Minister of Georgia, Mr. Vladimer Gurgenidze paid a working visit to Greece to monitor the ongoing situation in the Georgian consular services. During his visit some high level meetings with the Greek officials were held to discuss the ways of solving the problems of Georgian citizens in times of the Capital Control in Greece. The First Deputy Minister of State for Diaspora issues Mr. Zaal Sarajishvili also paid a visit to Athens and Thessaloniki in order to meet the representatives of the Georgian Diaspora and discuss the problems created by the crisis.

 

Since July 20, 2015 everyday life in Greece is going back to its regular track. Banks reopened with Capital controls and daily limit on the cash withdrawals still in place. We continue to closely monitor ongoing situation and remain ready for any further developments that the current crisis in Greece may offer. We also remain in close coordination with our partner embassies in Athens (Germany, UK, France, USA etc.) in order to promptly and efficiently response to new emerging challenges.

As far as the future work of the Embassy is concerned, we have a concrete plan to take the bilateral relations between Georgia and Hellenic Republic forward, in particular, by exchanging high level visits, holding next round of political consultations between the Ministries of Foreign Affairs, boosting business-to-business cooperation, establishing intergovernmental economic commission etc. Indeed, the ratification of the Association Agreement by the Hellenic Parliament, that was delayed due to the internal political turbulences, current financial crisis and government reshuffle in Greece, is our main priority. We hope that the Hellenic Side will complete all the relevant procedures for the ratification of the Association Agreement by the end of this year.