News

EBRD finances Tbilisi’s solid waste management system

Bank to support Tbilisi’s solid waste management and disposal system Funding will help to set up the first waste-treatment plant in Tbilisi Loan to be co-financed by the Green Climate Fund The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is extending a €22 million loan to Tbilservice Group to improve the solid waste management and disposal system in Georgia’s capital Tbilisi. The funding will support the first waste-treatment plant in Tbilisi, as part of the city’s participation in the EBRD Green Cities programme. The loan is co-financed with concessional funding of up to €4 million by the Green Climate Fund. The project will prioritise the redirection of waste away from the sanitary landfill for comprehensive waste treatment, including mechanical-biological treatment and the recovery of recyclable materials. This will help to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions (by 72 per cent compared to the baseline) and improve the overall environment in the city. The project will also address Tbilisi’s priority needs identified under its Green City Action Plan (GCAP) and will support the implementation of a GCAP action (“solid waste action 2”) on the construction of new waste treatment facilities, in line with the strategic objective of improving the city's solid waste management system. Alkis Vryenios Drakinos, EBRD Regional Director for the Caucasus, said: “Tbilisi is one of the first pilot cities under the EBRD’s innovative Green Cities programme that was launched eight years ago. Since then, we have been cooperating with the city and the Ministry of Finance to implement several important projects to help make Tbilisi greener. Today, we are delighted to be making another pivotal step towards improving the city’s infrastructure and its people’s wellbeing.” Kakha Kaladze, Mayor of Tbilisi, said: “For years, we have been partnering with the EBRD in our quest to transition to European standards that are up to date and safe for the environment. As a result, the EBRD is funding crucial projects in our city. One such project is the construction of the first waste-treatment plant in Tbilisi, for which €26 million has been allocated. This will lay the foundation for separation in waste collection and treatment in Georgia – a very important step forward for the city’s people and for the environment.” Lasha Khutsishvili, Minister of Finance of Georgia, said: “Active cooperation continues between Georgia and the EBRD, particularly in terms of advancing green-economy initiatives. Today’s signing of the loan agreement for the Tbilisi waste-treatment project, securing a total of €26 million, marks another milestone in this collaboration. This project aims to elevate Tbilisi to European standards, ensuring environmental protection and enhancing citizens’ health. I would like to express gratitude to our partners for their support in this endeavour.” The EBRD has participated in 290 projects in Georgia to date, with overall investments totalling around €5 billion, 83 per cent of which have been in the private sector. Overall, the EBRD’s green financing in Georgia accounted for 37 per cent of its total investment volume in the country in 2023.   

OSCE/ODIHR is already planning a pre-election assessment mission at the latest in May

OSCE/ODIHR is already planning a pre-election assessment mission at the latest in May. That`s according to Katya Andrusz, spokesperson of the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights, speaking with Europetime. „We have indeed received an invitation from the authorities to observe this year’s parliamentary elections, and are already planning a pre-election assessment mission at the latest in May. As you may know, ODIHR visits countries across the OSCE some months before an election is due to take place, at the invitation of the national authorities. During this needs assessment mission we speak to numerous people involved in the election, including government officials, the election administration, members of the judiciary, political parties, representatives of civil society, and the media. Only after this detailed assessment to evaluate the pre-election environment and preparations for voting day is a decision taken about the election observation and what format it will take, including the number of observers. In Georgia, we have consistently observed elections in the country, and our core team of experts regularly deploy 6-8 weeks ahead of election day,“ Katya Andrusz told Europetime.  

EEAS Spokesperson: Together with our US colleagues, we have been working on how to address the impact of Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine across the Black Sea region

Peter Stano, lead spokesperson for the foreign affairs and security policy of the European Union, said that the EU and US share common interests in the Black Sea region. According to him, they cooperate to support partners in the region to bolster their resilience to increasing hybrid and cyber challenges as well. „Together with our US colleagues, we have been working on how to address the impact of Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine across the Black Sea region - both in the short and the long run. We have focused on supporting Ukraine, but also helping the region address the wider fallout of Russia’s war. We have done this in many fora, including the EU-US Security and Defence Dialogue, the UN, the G7, etc. The EU and US share common interests in the region to: (1) increase coordination with partners; (2) deepen economic ties; (3) strengthen energy security; (4) support efforts to bolster democratic resilience, including fighting false narratives and Russian state-controlled propaganda, in accordance with our shared values; (5) support partners in the region to bolster their resilience to increasing hybrid and cyber challenges. We cooperate to help accelerating Ukrainian grain exports, notably after Russia’s unilateral withdrawal from the UN-Türkiye-brokered Black Sea Grain Initiative. The Leaders have been unequivocal in their Joint statement following the US-EU Summit on 20th October 2023 in Washington D.C. We continue to pursue the Solidarity Lanes objectives to increase efficiency and reduce transport costs. The US collaboration with the European partners in Constanta, Romania’s largest port city on the Black Sea coast, is a good example of that. The EU has deployed a Multipurpose Maritime Operation in the Black Sea, involving the EU Agencies with Coast Guard functions (Frontex, the European Maritime Safety Agency, European Fisheries Control Agency), riparian EU Member States, and also other EU Member States. Georgian officials were invited to observe various activities in this context. Furthermore, the EU has supported capacity building, including for Georgia, through the Black and Caspian Sea I project and its current successor Black and Caspian Seas II, implemented by the European Maritime Safety Agency. Looking ahead, the EU is working on the 4th implementation report of the EU Black Sea Synergy. This stock-tacking exercise will also help us identify key trends and findings, which could factor into future EU thinking on the Black Sea cooperation. At its core there are issues of connectivity, energy, digital transformation, blue economy, environment, fisheries and maritime security, resilience and the protection of critical infrastructure,“Stano told Europetime. The US sees Georgia as a critical security partner for the Black Sea, James O’Brien says  

EU special representative denied entry into occupied Abkhazia

In his personal statement published by Jam News on January 26, the European Union Special Representative for the South Caucasus and the Crisis in Georgia Toivo Klaar says that his request to visit Abkhazia scheduled for the end of January 2024 has been denied. According to him, this is the second refusal of his visit there in the past six months. “Abkhazia’s relative openness should not become a casualty of Russia’s war against Ukraine,” EU Representative Klaar writes, adding that “instead, now is a need for more, not less, direct personal contacts to exchange views and assessments of recent and current developments and to discuss possibilities for further mutual engagement.” The EU Special Representative notes that in recent years there have been “increasing restrictions being placed on our work and the work of UN agencies, international NGOs and local civil society organizations.” Toivo Klaar underlines the European Union “has been playing a key role in facilitating dialogue and conflict resolution efforts” in the South Caucasus in general, as well as between Tbilisi and the de-facto authorities in Sokhumi. “In this context and in the framework of our policy of non-recognition and engagement,” according to the Special Representative Klaar, “the EU has been facilitating or funding a considerable number of humanitarian programmes in Abkhazia over more than a decade now.” The EU Special Representative notes that despite fundamental political differences and disagreements on some core issues “we have always managed to keep channels of communication open and allow for space for engagement in all those areas that I have mentioned.” Citing various humanitarian projects supported by the EU in the occupied region, in areas such as education, small business support and health care, he notes that closing the space to international engagement or restricting the activities of international organizations, and thus the assistance coming to Abkhazia, “will only exacerbate” the challenges that have to be tackled. The Special Representative emphasizes that currently Abkhazia seems to be closing down. “I don’t see how these developments are in the interest of anyone, least of all the populations of Abkhazia,” – writes Klaar, expressing hope that the restrictions are temporary, and will soon be overcome. The de facto authorities of the occupied region have lashed out at international actors working in the region, in particular the US Agency for International Development (USAID), on several occasions over the past year. The de-facto top diplomat of occupied Abkhazia’s Inal Ardziba announced in November last year that international non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that view Abkhazia as an occupied territory will soon be banned from entering the region, in accordance with a so-called “presidential decree” to be issued “soon” “that will introduce changes in the regulation of the activities of international non-governmental organizations” in the occupied region.  

USEUCOM: Georgia actively contributes to regional stability

The United States Embassy in Bucharest and U.S. European Command (EUCOM) hosted senior U.S. policymakers in Bucharest, Romania, January 22-23, to discuss U.S. foreign policy and diplomatic efforts, and security interests in the Black Sea Region. Senior U.S. diplomats, military leaders, and ambassadors engaged on critical security topics including Russia’s war against Ukraine, increased maritime mobility in the Black Sea Region, and regional plans for deterrence and defense. According to EUCOM speaking with Europetime „Georgia actively contributes to regional stability through its involvement in NATO initiatives and exercises, leveraging its strategic location in the South Caucasus to safeguard energy routes and address security challenges.“ „The Department of Defense maintains strong security ties with Georgia's Ministry of Defense and the Georgian Defense Forces. Georgia actively contributes to regional stability through its involvement in NATO initiatives and exercises, leveraging its strategic location in the South Caucasus to safeguard energy routes and address security challenges. This partnership benefits NATO and Europe by providing a reliable partner that promotes security, stability and shared values in a complex geopolitical environment.  For all questions related to foreign policy and diplomatic efforts in the Black Sea region, the U.S. Embassy in Georgia, and Ambassador Dunnigan, we would kindly refer you to the Embassy's Public Affairs team,“ U.S. European Command's public affairs office told Europetime. According to USEUCOM, the discussion in Bucharest advanced efforts by U.S. Defense and State Department leaders to merge strategic initiatives and interagency coordination to counter threats and strengthen partnerships. Attendees included U.S. Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs James O’Brien, Ambassador to Ukraine Bridget Brink, Ambassador to Georgia Robin Dunnigan, Ambassador to Türkiye Jeffrey Flake, Ambassador to Armenia Kristina Kvien, Ambassador to Azerbaijan Mark Libby, Ambassador to Moldova Kent Logsdon, Ambassador to the Russian Federation Lynne Tracy, and U.S. Deputy Chief of Mission to Bulgaria Andrea Brouillette-Rodriguez. Chiefs-of-mission conferences facilitate strategic discussions among U.S. diplomatic and defense leaders to formulate strategic initiatives to further U.S. foreign policy and national security. “The Black Sea is crucial for global peace and stability, and its importance is only expected to increase in the coming years,” U.S. Ambassador to Romania Kathleen Kavalec said. “It is a vital export transit route, and its interconnectors facilitate trade and energy flows between Europe, Eurasia, and the Middle East, making it a crucial economic hub.” “Russia’s war against Ukraine is the most significant conflict in Europe since World War II, and today’s biggest threat to international order,” Kavalec cautioned. “Such an attack on the international order anywhere affects peace and stability everywhere including in the Black Sea region.” “Russia’s invasion of Ukraine altered the security environment in the Black Sea Region,” said Cavoli. “The region is of critical geostrategic importance to USEUCOM, our Allies and our partners. This conference brought together America’s diplomatic and military leaders with a focus on advancing the collective territorial security of the Black Sea Region.” The conference gathered senior Department of State policymakers, U.S. ambassadors to countries in the Black Sea region, and EUCOM leadership to discuss strategies to support to U.S. allies and partners in the region. Romanian Minister of Foreign Affairs Luminita Odobescu and Minister of Defense Angel Tilvar joined the group for an informative briefing and productive discussion.  

The US sees Georgia as a critical security partner for the Black Sea, James O’Brien says

Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, US Department of State James O’Brien, speaking at the German Marshall Fund event Europe Whole and Free: Priorities for 2024 on January 25. James O’Brien that the US sees Georgia as a “critical security partner for the Black Sea”. Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, US Department of State, spoke about the importance of the upcoming 2024 parliamentary elections. He also praised the Georgian government for its efforts to prevent sanctions’ circumvention. “In Georgia, you have got these very important parliamentary elections this year and we strongly supported international election observer mission. We’re going to be working with that mission, and with really vibrant civil society in Georgia to see that election goes well, because what we know is [that] more than 85% of Georgians continually say what they want is reform and entry into the EU. That’s what we have to stand with.” He also noted that the Georgian government has “really put in an effort at reform measures, particularly over the last months and we appreciate what they’ve done,” James O’Brien said. O’Brien added: “We appreciate what they’ve done on avoiding sanctions’ circumvention by restricting a lot of measures. I think there’s room to have to have a lot of optimism that Georgia will be a key contributor in that environment.“ Speaking about Georgia’s role in the region and in the security context of the Black Sea, the Assistant Secretary of State stressed that the Black Sea “is managing even more of the global trade, critical minerals, grain, all kinds of items.” He predicted that the “Black Sea will end up with LNG connections between Geo and Romania, a number of undersea cables for electricity, communications and so on…” Stressing that the density of economic engagement is expected to increase in the Black Sea he added: “We need to make sure that’s protected and that the rules of engagement across that wide range of countries are pretty clear to everyone, including to Russia.” Assistant Secretary O’Brien spoke about global challenges, Euro-Atlantic relations, Russia’s war in Ukraine, technological development and other issues. He devoted a large part of his speech to developments regarding the EU membership prospects of the most recent candidate countries. In particular, he stressed that “over the last decade, there have been a number of states that may have been on a path to Europe but not a clear prospect of moving toward it, and there were other states that were sort of half between Russia and the US, and that goes from the shores of the Caspian and even Central Asia all the way through to the Adriatic.” Calling this state of affairs “a serious problem” he said that “this grey space allows politicians to flourish who love to be just outside of the rules.” O’Brien stressed that it is necessary to “change their political incentives” and welcomed in this context “the EU’s decision to begin accession talks with nine countries.” He said the US “strongly support this” and is “linking the instruments we have in support of reforms needed for all these states and to find the future as part of the single market and the EU.”

Occupied Abkazia Transfers Bichvinta Dacha to Russia

Abkhazia's de facto parliament has ratified a controversial “agreement“ with Moscow under which a state resort in the breakaway Georgian territory will be transferred to Russia. The deal made in January 2022 calls for the Bichvinta country house to be handed over to Russia, leading to outcry from opposition groups who have been protesting in front of the parliament building and on December 27 called the ratification of the “agreement“ "shameful." The de -facto President of Abkhazia, Aslan Bzhania signed the ratification “document“ already, at 9 a.m. It was first decided in 1995 that Bichvinta would be transferred to Russia through a long-term lease, although no practical steps have been taken since then. Russia has stepped up its efforts to finalize the deal, with the text of a new “agreement“ to transfer the land for 49 years emerging on January 19, 2022, which was ratified today. The issue has been a hot topic of discussion in Abkhazia ever since, with both the public and officials divided on the matter. In May this year, young activists were arrested while protesting against the transfer.  

Strasbourg Court holds that Russia is to pay more than 129 million euros in compensation to Georgia relating to August 2008 war

The European Court of Human Rights ordered Russia to pay more than 129 million euros in compensation to Georgia for violations of the European Convention on Human Rights and damages caused to citizens as a result of the August 2008 war. In today’s Grand Chamber judgment in the case of Georgia v. Russia (II), the European Court of Human Rights examined the question of just satisfaction (Article 41). The case concerned allegations by the Georgian Government of administrative practices on the part of the Russian Federation entailing various breaches of the Convention, in connection with the armed conflict between Georgia and the Russian Federation in August 2008. „In today’s Grand Chamber judgment concerning the question of just satisfaction, the Court held, unanimously: - that it had jurisdiction under Article 58 of the Convention to deal with the applicant Government’s claims for just satisfaction under Article 41 of the Convention notwithstanding the cessation of the Russian Federation’s membership of the Council of Europe, and that the respondent Government’s failure to cooperate did not present an obstacle to their examination; - that Article 41 of the Convention was applicable to the present case in respect of the victims of the administrative practice of killing of civilians in Georgian villages in South Ossetia and in the “buffer zone”, the victims of the administrative practice of torching and looting of houses in the “buffer zone”, the victims of the administrative practice of inhuman and degrading treatment and arbitrary detention of Georgian civilians held by the South Ossetian forces in the basement of the “Ministry of Internal Affairs of South Ossetia” in Tskhinvali between approximately 10 and 27 August 2008, the victims of the administrative practice of torture of Georgian prisoners of war detained by the South Ossetian forces in Tskhinvali between 8 and 17 August 2008, the victims of the administrative practice of preventing the return of Georgian nationals to their respective homes in South Ossetia and Abkhazia, and the victims of the respondent Government’s failure to comply with their procedural obligation to carry out an adequate and effective investigation into the deaths which had occurred during the active phase of the hostilities or after the cessation of hostilities; - that the respondent State was to pay the applicant Government, within three months, EUR 3,250,000 (three million two hundred and fifty thousand euros) in respect of non-pecuniary damage suffered by a group of at least 50 victims of the administrative practice of killing of civilians in Georgian villages in South Ossetia and in the “buffer zone” and of the respondent Government’s failure to comply with their procedural obligation to carry out an adequate and effective investigation into those killings; - that the respondent State was to pay the applicant Government, within three months, EUR 2,697,500 (two million six hundred and ninety-seven thousand five hundred euros) in respect of non-pecuniary damage suffered by a group of at least 166 victims of the administrative practice of inhuman and degrading treatment and arbitrary detention of Georgian civilians held by the South Ossetian forces in the basement of the “Ministry of Internal Affairs of South Ossetia” in Tskhinvali between approximately 10 and 27 August 2008; - that the respondent State was to pay the applicant Government, within three months, EUR 640,000 (six hundred and forty thousand euros) in respect of non-pecuniary damage suffered by a group of at least 16 victims of the administrative practice of torture of Georgian prisoners of war detained by the South Ossetian forces in Tskhinvali between 8 and 17 August 2008; - that the respondent State was to pay the applicant Government, within three months, EUR 115,000,000 (one hundred and fifteen million euros) in respect of non-pecuniary damage suffered by a group of at least 23,000 victims of the administrative practice of preventing the return of Georgian nationals to their respective homes in South Ossetia and Abkhazia; and - that the respondent State was to pay the applicant Government, within three months, EUR 8,240,000 (eight million two hundred and forty thousand euros) in respect of non-pecuniary damage suffered by a group of at least 412 victims of the respondent Government’s failure to comply with their procedural obligation to carry out an adequate and effective investigation into the deaths which had occurred during the active phase of the hostilities”, reads the Court’s press release. The Court also notes that the principal judgment in the present case was delivered on 21 January 2021 and since the question of the application of Article 41 of the Convention was not ready for decision, the Court reserved it and invited the applicant Government and the respondent Government to submit their observations on the matter.

Nino Kadagidze: The time has come when the Government has to intervene in a number of issues

The time has come when the Government has to intervene in a number of issues. In any case, I believe that a normative framework based on certain correct views can be developed, which we also discussed with the Prime Minister, this will in fact rule out any form of interference in the court and will minimize the influence of politics in the court, Chairperson of the Supreme Court and the Supreme Council of Justice Nino Kadagidze stated after meeting with PM Irakli Gharibashvili. According to her, everyone can make mistakes, however, she remains hopeful that the question of sanctioning judges by the relevant office or agencies will be reviewed. "It is very sad that there is an attempt to shift high political tensions in the court. Otherwise, I cannot explain the unprecedented decision made by the US Secretary of State to designate three life-tenure judges and one former judge. The judiciary has faced many challenges over the years, but I want to say loudly that there is a real, genuine and tangible achievement, which is a corruption-free judiciary. Therefore, I cannot accept any statement about the existence of corruption in the court. Despite my personal request, I was not provided with substantiated evidence, but given the assumptions and hints as to what became the basis for accusing my colleagues of corruption, I fully support them. I, as the Chairperson of the Supreme Court and the Chairperson of the Supreme Council of Justice, will be the guarantor of inviolability and freedom of each of us and our judges. Despite the 12 recommendations for the state, one of which is the judicial system, even beyond that, Georgian justice is ahead of more than one of our neighboring and friendly countries in all aspects, in all parameters. Therefore, it is tough for me that this information will not be used in the difficult and very valuable, important path for our country towards European integration. I always maintained a special attitude towards our partners and friends, I was always deliberate in my relations with them. I think that the moment has come today when I demand reciprocity from them, everyone can make a mistake, but I believe that admitting a mistake is only a trait of the strong, and therefore I have a very high hope that the relevant office or agencies will solve this issue and it will definitely be reviewed. Additionally, we considered it necessary that the time has come when the Government has to intervene in a number of issues. In any case, I believe that a normative framework based on certain correct views can be developed, which we also discussed with the Prime Minister, this will in fact rule out any form of interference in the court and will minimize the influence of politics in the court," said Nino Kadagidze.  

Ambassador Hubert Knirsch: The verdict of the European Court confirms that Russia is responsible before the law for human rights abuses in the torn-away regions that occurred after the 2008 war

In an interview with Europetime, Germany's ambassador to Georgia- Hubert Knirsch commented on the European Court of Human Rights verdict. "The verdict of the European Court of Human Rights confirms that Russia is responsible before the law for human rights abuses in the torn-away regions that occurred after the 2008 war. Our political ambition must be not only to effectively include these regions in the international mechanisms for the protection of human rights but also to transform and ultimately to solve the conflicts that have cast their shadows over them for such a long time already. All participants should make full use of the Geneva International Discussions to move forward on this road",- Hubert Knirsch said.

economic

The United States supports Georgian economic development, the Multimodal Terminal in Batumi is an example of this support - The US Embassy

On the occasion of the 30th anniversary of US-Georgia diplomatic relations, US Ambassador Kelly Degnan paid a visit to the Batumi Multimodal Terminal. The US Embassy in Georgia has made relevant material public. According to the U.S. embassy the United States supports Georgian economic development by working with American firms to enter and compete in Georgian markets and the Multimodal Terminal in Batumi is an example of this support, representing the biggest American investment in the Adjara region. „During her visit to the terminal Ambassador Degnan noted how such investments pave the way for other U.S. businesses to look at the Georgian market and utilize its potential as a transportation, logistics, and commercial hub“, - the U.S. embassy said.   A new multimodal terminal in Batumi port opened in june, 2021. Its capacity is up to 1.5 million tons per year. The project investors are the American corporation Trammo together with Wondernet Express Investment Group. The construction of the terminal began in 2019, and the investments in the project reach $25 million.  

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EEAS Spokesperson: Together with our US colleagues, we have been working on how to address the impact of Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine across the Black Sea region

Peter Stano, lead spokesperson for the foreign affairs and security policy of the European Union, said that the EU and US share common interests in the Black Sea region. According to him, they cooperate to support partners in the region to bolster their resilience to increasing hybrid and cyber challenges as well. „Together with our US colleagues, we have been working on how to address the impact of Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine across the Black Sea region - both in the short and the long run. We have focused on supporting Ukraine, but also helping the region address the wider fallout of Russia’s war. We have done this in many fora, including the EU-US Security and Defence Dialogue, the UN, the G7, etc. The EU and US share common interests in the region to: (1) increase coordination with partners; (2) deepen economic ties; (3) strengthen energy security; (4) support efforts to bolster democratic resilience, including fighting false narratives and Russian state-controlled propaganda, in accordance with our shared values; (5) support partners in the region to bolster their resilience to increasing hybrid and cyber challenges. We cooperate to help accelerating Ukrainian grain exports, notably after Russia’s unilateral withdrawal from the UN-Türkiye-brokered Black Sea Grain Initiative. The Leaders have been unequivocal in their Joint statement following the US-EU Summit on 20th October 2023 in Washington D.C. We continue to pursue the Solidarity Lanes objectives to increase efficiency and reduce transport costs. The US collaboration with the European partners in Constanta, Romania’s largest port city on the Black Sea coast, is a good example of that. The EU has deployed a Multipurpose Maritime Operation in the Black Sea, involving the EU Agencies with Coast Guard functions (Frontex, the European Maritime Safety Agency, European Fisheries Control Agency), riparian EU Member States, and also other EU Member States. Georgian officials were invited to observe various activities in this context. Furthermore, the EU has supported capacity building, including for Georgia, through the Black and Caspian Sea I project and its current successor Black and Caspian Seas II, implemented by the European Maritime Safety Agency. Looking ahead, the EU is working on the 4th implementation report of the EU Black Sea Synergy. This stock-tacking exercise will also help us identify key trends and findings, which could factor into future EU thinking on the Black Sea cooperation. At its core there are issues of connectivity, energy, digital transformation, blue economy, environment, fisheries and maritime security, resilience and the protection of critical infrastructure,“Stano told Europetime. The US sees Georgia as a critical security partner for the Black Sea, James O’Brien says  

USEUCOM: Georgia actively contributes to regional stability

The United States Embassy in Bucharest and U.S. European Command (EUCOM) hosted senior U.S. policymakers in Bucharest, Romania, January 22-23, to discuss U.S. foreign policy and diplomatic efforts, and security interests in the Black Sea Region. Senior U.S. diplomats, military leaders, and ambassadors engaged on critical security topics including Russia’s war against Ukraine, increased maritime mobility in the Black Sea Region, and regional plans for deterrence and defense. According to EUCOM speaking with Europetime „Georgia actively contributes to regional stability through its involvement in NATO initiatives and exercises, leveraging its strategic location in the South Caucasus to safeguard energy routes and address security challenges.“ „The Department of Defense maintains strong security ties with Georgia's Ministry of Defense and the Georgian Defense Forces. Georgia actively contributes to regional stability through its involvement in NATO initiatives and exercises, leveraging its strategic location in the South Caucasus to safeguard energy routes and address security challenges. This partnership benefits NATO and Europe by providing a reliable partner that promotes security, stability and shared values in a complex geopolitical environment.  For all questions related to foreign policy and diplomatic efforts in the Black Sea region, the U.S. Embassy in Georgia, and Ambassador Dunnigan, we would kindly refer you to the Embassy's Public Affairs team,“ U.S. European Command's public affairs office told Europetime. According to USEUCOM, the discussion in Bucharest advanced efforts by U.S. Defense and State Department leaders to merge strategic initiatives and interagency coordination to counter threats and strengthen partnerships. Attendees included U.S. Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs James O’Brien, Ambassador to Ukraine Bridget Brink, Ambassador to Georgia Robin Dunnigan, Ambassador to Türkiye Jeffrey Flake, Ambassador to Armenia Kristina Kvien, Ambassador to Azerbaijan Mark Libby, Ambassador to Moldova Kent Logsdon, Ambassador to the Russian Federation Lynne Tracy, and U.S. Deputy Chief of Mission to Bulgaria Andrea Brouillette-Rodriguez. Chiefs-of-mission conferences facilitate strategic discussions among U.S. diplomatic and defense leaders to formulate strategic initiatives to further U.S. foreign policy and national security. “The Black Sea is crucial for global peace and stability, and its importance is only expected to increase in the coming years,” U.S. Ambassador to Romania Kathleen Kavalec said. “It is a vital export transit route, and its interconnectors facilitate trade and energy flows between Europe, Eurasia, and the Middle East, making it a crucial economic hub.” “Russia’s war against Ukraine is the most significant conflict in Europe since World War II, and today’s biggest threat to international order,” Kavalec cautioned. “Such an attack on the international order anywhere affects peace and stability everywhere including in the Black Sea region.” “Russia’s invasion of Ukraine altered the security environment in the Black Sea Region,” said Cavoli. “The region is of critical geostrategic importance to USEUCOM, our Allies and our partners. This conference brought together America’s diplomatic and military leaders with a focus on advancing the collective territorial security of the Black Sea Region.” The conference gathered senior Department of State policymakers, U.S. ambassadors to countries in the Black Sea region, and EUCOM leadership to discuss strategies to support to U.S. allies and partners in the region. Romanian Minister of Foreign Affairs Luminita Odobescu and Minister of Defense Angel Tilvar joined the group for an informative briefing and productive discussion.  

US Embassy: The U.S. government has and will continue to expose Russia’s efforts to undermine democratic elections around the world

EXCLUSIVE The United States has become aware of a trend in Russia’s efforts to undermine democratic processes globally, according to the US Embassy in Georgia. Europetime was told in the embassy that the U.S. government has and will continue to expose Russia’s efforts to undermine democratic elections around the world. The United States on Friday released a U.S. intelligence assessment sent to more than 100 countries that found Moscow is using spies, social media and Russian state-run media to erode public faith in the integrity of democratic elections worldwide. The assessment was sent in a State Department cable dated Wednesday to more than 100 U.S. embassies in the Americas, Europe, Asia and Africa for distribution to their host governments. Europetime was curious as to whether there has been communication over the aforementioned matter with the Georgian side via the embassy. “The United States has become aware of a trend in Russia’s efforts to undermine democratic processes globally. It is well-documented that Russia seeks to influence the outcomes of democratic elections globally in favor of specific candidates and political parties. In response, the U.S. State Department has briefed more than 100 democracies on these Russian efforts and steps we can take in response. We also are speaking openly about these findings. The U.S. government has and will continue to expose Russia’s efforts to undermine democratic elections around the world. We are seeking to increase public awareness of and resilience to these Russian activities. It is critical that we work together, as democracies, to counter these Russian efforts. In our cable to the governments invited to the Summit for Democracy, we notified each country, privately, on whether we assess Russia had sought to degrade public confidence in elections held in their country. We are keeping these briefings confidential, even as we act transparently by sharing our general findings with the public,“ the U.S. Embassy said.  

State Department: Russia is seeking to undermine democracies from within, the IC found that this Russian activity is global in scope

Russia is seeking to undermine democracies from within. The IC found that this Russian activity is global in scope, a State Department spokesperson told Europetime. „We have long known that Russia is seeking to subvert democratic processes around the world, and we are raising awareness that, as part of these efforts, Russia is pursuing operations to degrade public confidence in the integrity of elections themselves. To better understand this threat, the U.S. Intelligence Community undertook a review of Russian operations to undermine public confidence in democratic elections that took place between January 2020 and December 2022. The IC found that this Russian activity is global in scope. Russia is seeking to undermine democracies from within. In response, the U.S. State Department has briefed more than 100 democracies on these Russian efforts and steps we can take in response. We also are speaking openly about these findings. The U.S. government has and will continue to expose Russia’s efforts to undermine democratic elections around the world. We also will continue to work with other democracies to further these efforts. We are seeking to increase public awareness of and resilience to these Russian activities. „We will continue to work with our fellow democracies to advance these actions, including through new policy initiatives – like this multi-part exposure campaign,“ - a State Department spokesperson told Europetime. The United States on Friday released a U.S. intelligence assessment sent to more than 100 countries that found Moscow is using spies, social media and Russian state-run media to erode public faith in the integrity of democratic elections worldwide. The assessment was sent in a State Department cable dated Wednesday to more than 100 U.S. embassies in the Americas, Europe, Asia and Africa for distribution to their host governments. US Embassy: The U.S. government has and will continue to expose Russia’s efforts to undermine democratic elections around the world  

State Department: It’s important the Georgian government to ensure the Anaklia port project will be transparent and adhere to the rule of law

The State Department answered the questions by Europetime regarding the priorities of the Black Sea strategy. Europetime asked where the Anaklia port project fits within this plan. According to a spokesperson, the United States has been a strong supporter of the Anaklia deep water port for years, as it is projected to be a very important contribution to Georgia's economy and the development of the Trans-Caspian transportation corridor. The State Department has submitted a report to Congress describing its strategy for the Black Sea region „On the Anaklia project, The United States has been a strong supporter of the Anaklia deep water port for years as it is projected to be a very important contribution to Georgia's economy and the development of the Trans Caspian transportation corridor.     It’s important the Georgian government ensure the project will be transparent, adhere to the rule of law, and take into consideration the long-term security and prosperity of Georgia’s citizens. On the Black Sea Strategy: The Black Sea Strategy is a vision for a Black Sea that is secure, prosperous, interconnected, and free from threats to territorial integrity, economic coercion, and malign influence. It encourages agencies across the United States Government to work with partners bilaterally and multilaterally to ensure regional security, boost regional economic cooperation, provide clean and secure energy, strengthen rule of law, promote respect for human rights, combat corruption, and counter disinformation. Through this Strategy, the United States will strengthen our partnerships to promote peace and prosperity for all. The Strategy also outlines our approach to addressing the immediate and long-term repercussions brought upon the region by Russia’s brutal full-scale invasion of Ukraine,“ a State Department spokesperson told Europetime.  

The State Department comments on the establishment of a strategic partnership between Georgia and China

The State Department comments on the establishment of a strategic partnership between Georgia and China.   „We have no objection to investments or engagements by any other country, including from the PRC. The concerns we have had are making sure these activities are done transparently and according to the rule of law, with sustainable financing, and with respect for the autonomy of aid recipients so there are not any political strings attached. Ultimately, countries will make their sovereign decisions about with whom they want to do business or invest. The PRC often makes many promises in exchange for diplomatic recognition that ultimately remain unfulfilled. We will continue to monitor next steps closely“ a spokesperson at the State Department told Europetime.   The Administration of the Georgian Government published a joint statement on the establishment of a strategic partnership between Georgia and China.