Georgia opened a consulate in Serbia, which is the beginning of even better cooperation. H.E. Ioseb Nanobashvili, Ambassador of Georgia to Athens and Belgrade talks about further plans and areas for cooperation.
President of the Parliament of Georgia visits Serbian Patriarch in March. Serbia and Georgia are Orthodox countries, but we know little about each other. How can we change that?
— Since 2017 we have been working very actively with our Serbian colleagues in order to change the situation. And results of the work are indeed impressive: In 2017, the first ever bilateral political consultations between our countries took place in Belgrade. The same year we established a political format of Serbia-Georgia dialogue on European Integration. In 2018 we established Serbia-Georgia intergovernmental economic commission. As for high level visits, in 2017 the vice-prime minister Rasim Ljaić together with the Minister for self-government and administrative reforms Branko Ružić visited Georgia. In 2017 we also had a pleasure of hosting the chairman of the foreign affairs committee Žarko Obradović which led the first Serbian parliamentary Delegation to Georgia. In 2018 the Chairperson of the Serbian national assembly Maja Gojković visited Georgia with the historic visit, followed by the first official visit of the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Georgia Janelidze to Belgrade and the first visit of the Serbian Prime-Minister Ana Brnabić to Georgia. Last spring the vice-chairman of the Georgian Parliament Giorgi Volski and the Chairperson of the foreign affairs committee Sopio Katsarava visited Belgrade and in fall 2018 the chair of the EU integration committee Tamar Kulordava paid her visit to Serbia for discussing parliamentary dimension of the Serbia-Georgia dialogue on European Integration. In the end of 2018 Maja Gojković honoured us with her presence at the Inauguration of the new President of Georgia. In 2018 our countries abolished visa requirements for ordinary passport holders. Last month we opened honorary consulate of Georgia in Belgrade as well as first diplomatic office of Georgia in western Balkans. No we are in anticipation of reciprocal step from the Serbian side concerning opening of Serbian diplomatic representation in Georgia.
Georgia-Serbia Business Forum was held in Belgrade at the end of March. The Speaker and the Parliamentary Delegation attended the official Reception dedicated to the 100th anniversary of Georgian Parliamentarism in Belgrade. What are the conclusions of that meeting?
— I see the first Serbian-Georgian Business-forum as a first step towards connecting business communities of two countries with a special role in their respective regions. By strengthening the Serbian-Georgian economic contacts, I believe, we will tie two important hubs in Balkans and in south Caucasus, as both states claim to be a gateway for east-west and north-south communication. I think, we can also share our experience how to make our markets
better known for each other, as well as what makes our countries attractive for foreign investors and entrepreneurs.
What do our diplomatic relations mean opening the Georgian consulate in Serbia? In which segments we need to deepen our cooperation?
— As I said increase of the trade turnover between our states is an absolute priority. In coming years, we hope to have main deliverables in tourism, agriculture, hidro-energy production and IT. We are working hard to explore all options for establishing direct flights between our countries which will surely promote the business-communication, bring closer our companies and individual enterprenuers.
Serbia has a problem with Kosovo, Georgia with South Ossetia and Abkhazia. What can we learn from each other in solving these problems?
— We are committed to fundamental principles of international law, as well as to the principle of inviolability of territorial integrity. Georgia strongly supports the territorial integrity of the Republic of Serbia at the level of statements as well as practical steps. We are also quite similar in dealing with our territorial problems. We use exclusively peaceful means and pragmatic approaches aimed at assisting war-torn communities in their daily lives, improving Human Rights situation on the ground, implement confidence-building measures and offering various social benefits for all Georgian citizens notwithstanding their place of residence.
With the agreement, you agreed to cooperate even harder and more content in the field of European integration, because it is our common foreign policy goal. What exactly does it mean?
— The European integration is a national goal for both our countries. We are looking forward to the next enlargement of the EU and hope that the Republic of Serbia as a frontrunner candidate for the EU membership will approach the EU to the level it fairly deserves. We also hope that the EU will further apply the more-for-more principle with regards to associated and aspirant countries thus opening new opportunities for successful countries like Georgia. To this end, we attach a special importance to the ongoing dialogue between Serbia-Georgia on European Integration issues and looking forward to the second round of the dialogue in April 18th 2019, in Tbilisi.