Embassy opening start of deeper Georgia-Croatia relations

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The opening of the Georgian Embassy in Zagreb is the start of deeper Georgia-Croatia relations, Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili said on Monday after meeting with Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenković, who underlined Croatia's support for Georgia's Euro-Atlantic path.

Garibashvili is the first Georgian prime minister to visit Croatia, which he thanked for supporting Georgia's sovereignty and territorial integrity as well as for assistance on Georgia's path to EU and NATO membership. Twenty percent of Georgian territory is under Russian occupation.

Georgia and Moldova applied for EU membership three days after Ukraine, which did it four days after Russia's invasion on 24 February 2022. Ukraine and Moldova were given candidate status in June 2022, but not Georgia.

Garibashvili said that was "unjust" and "unjustified", claiming that Georgia is far ahead on that path in comparison with Ukraine and Moldova.

The European Commission has said that Georgia has to carry out 12 reforms to win candidate status, including deoligarchization, work on press freedoms, the judiciary and the fight against political polarisation.

Garibashvili said he expected candidate status towards the end of the year. Plenković said he had Croatia's political and advisory support in that respect.

Croatia will continue to support Georgia in its reform and integration efforts, he said, adding that they will use today's visit to advance economic relations.

Plenković welcomed the operation of numerous Croatian companies in Georgia. The opening of the Georgian Embassy this afternoon will contribute to the expansion of economic cooperation.

Croatia is an "example" of a country which achieved its foreign policy goals in 30 years of independence and a state Georgia considers "a close friend and reliable ally," Garibashvili said.

In Georgia, the EU has a reliable, "the best" partner in the Caucasus in the economy, security and energy, he added.

"The ideal of freedom has guided Georgia for years to become a full member of the European family and today we are closer to that national goal" thanks to the incumbent government, he said. 

Text: Hina

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