Statement to the press in Tbilisi by Minister of Foreign Affairs Mr. Gabrielius Landsbergis
29 April 2021 (Transcript of the speech, exactly as it was delivered)
Dear representatives of the media, dear friends, – thank you for coming.
I’ve had very intensive few days in Tbilisi and I would like to thank the Georgian leadership, the oppositinion, NGOs for a very open and frank discussions during our meetings.
Let me stress few points -
First of - strong partnership between Lithuania and Georgia and very deep relations between the people of our two nations is stronger than ever.
Lithuania will never compromise on Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, and will refute any open or hidden initiatives to undermine it.
Russia’s aggressive steps of borderization and increased Russia’s military presence in the Georgia’s occupied regions will be condemned in all available formats.
We call on Russia to immediately release Georgian citizens, fully obey 2008 Ceasefire Agreement as well as the European Human Rights Court’s decision of 21th January 2021. And in this regard our full solidarity goes to Zaza Gakheladze and his family, as well as other illegally detained persons and their loved ones.
Lithuania fully supports Georgia’s European and Euro-Atlantic path. The will of Georgian people to have a democratic, European and secure Georgia will not be neglected.
With increased Russia’s presence in the South Caucasus countries, we can clearly say that the geopolitical environment is changing.
A closer regional cooperation between South Caucasus countries is ever more important. Tbilisi has a chance to present itself as a regional center for cooperation on pandemic related initiatives, trade, common infrastrucure projects, as well as all deepening the relationship with the EU. Lithuania is ready to contribute to such cooperation.
But, as a true friend of Georgia, let me openly state that, it is vital to fully resolve the current domestic political situation and to have a fully functioning Parliament with full mandate of the people of Georgia.
The European Union has extended an unprecedented hand of both, financial and political, support to Georgia. The political deal brokered by the President Charles Michel is in place. And we commend all the political parties that have signed it. It shows true responsibility for the common cause of the country.
But, the agreement is not a finish line. Signing of the agreement is a very important first step. Other steps include issues related to addressing politicized justice, ambitious electoral and judicial reforms, as well as power sharing in the Parliament. And let me state very clearly: the April 19 agreement must be implemented, without any deviation and in its entirety.
I encourage Mr. Melia to consider taking the guarantees offered by European political interlocutors.
It is very important that all political parties and elected parliament members join the agreement and commit to its implementation.
This would allow not only swifter implementation but also more efficient monitoring of the upholding of the agreement.
And most importantly, it would demonstrate the commitment of all political parties to the Georgia’s European and Euro- Atlantic course.
Lithuania will support all EU and international efforts to closely monitor the implementation of the Agreement.
Lithuania strongly believes in Georgias European and Euro- Atlantic future and is determined to assist Georgia to achieve it.
On 26 June, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania Gabrielius Landsbergis, together with his Austrian counterpart Alexander Schallenberg and the Romanian Foreign Minister Bogdan Aurescu, held meetings with the Prime Minister of Georgia Irakli Garibashvili and the Vice Prime Minister, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Georgia David Zalkaliani in Tbilisi, and paid a visit to the Administrative Boundary Line (ABL) with the Russia-occupied Tskhinvali region of Georgia / South Ossetia.
We, the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania express serious concerns over the political situation developing in Georgia and urge all political forces to act with restraint, de-escalate the situation and seek constructive solution in the interest of Georgia and all its citizens. We stress the critical importance of the rule of law and political dialogue in order to resolve the current crisis.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Lithuania is concerned about the recent political situation in Georgia. Parliament's decision to waive the legal immunity of Nika Melia, the leader of the main opposition party, the United National Movement, and the possible arrest of the politician reduces the possibility of dialogue between the ruling party and the opposition, raising questions about selective justice and the rule of law in the country.