Lithuanian president off to Georgia for centennial celebrations

Georgia, Tbilisi
Foto: AP / Scanpix

Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaitė is leaving on Friday for Tbilisi to attend festive events marking the 100th anniversary of the first Democratic Republic of Georgia.

The Lithuanian president on Saturday is to give a speech in Tbilisi's central Freedom Square and to attend an official lunch hosted by her Georgian President Giorgi Margvelashvili.

Grybauskaitė is also scheduled to meet with her Georgian counterpart and with Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili to discuss bilateral relations, Georgia's European integration and security and cooperation with NATO, her press office said.

The Lithuanian president told LRT Radio that the primary aim of her visit was to congratulate the people of Georgia on the centennial.

"I'll (congratulate them) in the square on Saturday. I'll try to do it in Kartvelian. Most importantly, it is the creation of a modern state that we support and we are proud to have such an Eastern Partnership country that cooperates, and relations are good," she said.

Grybauskaitė plans to discuss how Lithuania could increase its contribution to Georgia's reforms during her meetings with the Transcaucasian country's leaders.

"We have a lot to discuss, including Georgia's European path and NATO contacts (...). The nation's determination to create a European state has not been weakened either by the war or the 2008 occupation of a part of its territory," she said.

"Therefore, at the meetings, we'll pay a lot of attention to Georgia's cooperation with the European Union (and will discuss) what reforms, what assistance could be provided from Lithuania and through various projects in which Lithuania is already taking part."

Grybauskaitė emphasized that Georgia, which aspires to membership in NATO, is already making a significant contribution to the Alliance's activities and participating in its missions.

As part of her visit, the president also plans to open the Center for Lithuanian Language and Culture in Tbilisi, which has moved into new premises.

Margvelashvili was among foreign leaders who attended Lithuania's official centennial celebrations in Vilnius on February 16.

Georgia declared independence on May 26, 1918, but the first Democratic Republic of Georgia existed for only three years. It was forcibly incorporated into the Soviet Union in 1921 and regained its independence in the spring of 1991.

Source: BNS
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