Today, in the Presidential Cabinet, President Stevo Pendarovski welcomed, with the highest state and military honors, the President of Georgia, Salome Zourabichvili, who is paying an official visit to the Republic of North Macedonia.
During the visit, in addition to the tete-a-tete meeting between President Pendarovski and President Zourabichvili, a plenary meeting of the official delegations was held, an Agreement on Visa Abolition between the Republic of North Macedonia and Georgia and a Memorandum of Cooperation in the field of culture between the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of North Macedonia and the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Youth of Georgia were signed, and, in the end, there was a joint press conference of President Pendarovski and President Zourabichvili.
Please find below the integral text of the statement of President Pendarovski:
Distinguished President of Georgia, Mrs. Zourabichvili,
Respected media representatives, Ladies and Gentlemen,
Today, we have great pleasure, on behalf of the Macedonian citizens, to warmly welcome the President of Georgia, Her Excellency, Mrs. Salome Zourabichvili.
This first, and thus, I would say historic visit at the highest level takes place very shortly after the establishment of diplomatic relations between our two countries on February 16, 2019.
Symbolically, we are connected by a very important jubilee. This year, both North Macedonia and Georgia are celebrating 30 years of independence. We – from the acquisition and Georgia – from the restoration of its independence.
Although in the past decades we have occasionally cooperated within international organizations, the time has come to raise our relations from the margins of international forums to the highest level.
The pandemic slowed down the projected dynamics of the meetings, but this first official visit is an opportunity to make up for the time lost.
Therefore, today we talked with President Zourabichvili about advancing our bilateral relations in the coming period. We will do most of the steps for the first time. Therefore, we need to seize this moment and create a solid foundation for the development of bilateral relations. And the first step in that direction is, of course, the regulation of the legal framework.
North Macedonia and Georgia have an extremely rich natural and cultural-historical heritage. Hence, two important documents were recently signed. The first is an agreement between the two countries on the abolition of visas to facilitate the travel of Macedonian and Georgian citizens. The second document is a Memorandum of Cooperation in the field of culture between our Ministry of Culture and the Georgian Ministry of Culture, Sports and Youth. These 2 documents should be the legal basis for tourism development, and overall economic and cultural cooperation between the two countries.
Other agreements are in the process, including those for economic and technical cooperation. An unwritten rule is that those who are the first to break into the new market usually achieve the greatest success. Therefore, on this occasion I would like to encourage businessmen from North Macedonia and Georgia to use this opportunity, to establish contacts and work on business partnerships for mutual benefit.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Today, President Zourabichvili and I exchanged views on topics related to our foreign policy priorities, in the context of the stability and security of the European continent.
We concluded that although we are territorially small countries located in different regions, we share similar strategic foreign policy priorities.
As a NATO member, we support Georgia’s right to build the closest possible relations with the Alliance. It is a sovereign choice of the Georgian people and in that regard we are ready to deepen cooperation through partnership mechanisms.
At the same time, like the European Union, we, as a candidate country, strongly support Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognized borders. At the same time, we support the Geneva International Discussions, which remain the only mechanism by which all stakeholders engage in resolving the challenges arising from the unresolved internal conflict in Georgia.
In conclusion, I would like to stress once again that I believe that with this first visit of a high-ranking Georgian statesman, we are writing history in the relations between our two friendly countries and peoples.
Hence, Your Excellency, once again, on behalf of the Macedonian citizens, I wish you a warm welcome in North Macedonia.