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Joint Declaration of the Presidents of Georgia and Estonia

31.10.2017

President of Estonia Kersti Kaljulaid and President of Georgia Giorgi Margvelashvili met today in Tbilisi during the State Visit of the President of Estonia to Georgia, celebrating the 25th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the two countries

In the course of the past 25 years, the two European nations have set a strong foundation for the close and substantive relationship, based on historical ties, shared European values such as democracy, the rule of law and respect for human rights as well as common interests. Estonia firmly supports Georgia's European and Euro-Atlantic aspirations.

Our bonds of history date back already in the 19th century when first Estonians settled in Georgia. After gaining independence in the beginning of 20th century, Georgia and Estonia established respective diplomatic missions. Today, numerous people-to-people contacts, active relations between institutions and frequent high-level visits illustrate the closeness of our bilateral relations in variety of fields.

The two Presidents, while welcoming the existing excellent cooperation between the two States, reaffirmed their willingness to further strengthen the bilateral relations in all fields, especially economic, trade and investment ties. In this context, the presidents welcomed the presence of the sizable Estonian business delegation at the visit. They noted that the Association Agreement with the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA) as the cornerstone of EU-Georgia enhanced relations, opens the way for future progressive developments in their relations, as well as provides further opportunities for bilateral economic relations between Georgia and Estonia.

The two Presidents stressed the importance of continuing Georgia's domestic reform process, while acknowledging the important progress made so far. Today Estonia serves as a role model for Georgia on its way of transformation in many respects. President Kaljulaid stressed that supporting Georgia remains one of Estonia's foreign policy priorities. Estonia's development cooperation with Georgia will continue to focus on promoting good governance and democracy, entrepreneurship and education, with an emphasis on information and communication technologies.

Estonia continues contributing to Georgia's deeper political association and economic integration with the European Union. The decision of the European Union to abolish visa requirements for the Georgian citizens is a demonstration of Georgia's substantial progress. The presidents welcomed the active engagement of the European Union with the Eastern Partners during Estonian Presidency of the Council of EU and expressed their wish to make the Eastern Partnership Summit in November a common success.

Estonia supports the decision from the NATO Bucharest and consecutive Summits that Georgia will become a NATO member, and praises Georgia's active participation in Allied operations. The two Presidents noted the intense cooperation between NATO and Georgia in the framework of the NATO-Georgia Commission. They reiterated the engagement under Substantial NATO-Georgia Package, aimed at strengthening Georgia's defence capabilities, developing closer security cooperation and interoperability with NATO Members, helps Georgia to advance in its preparations for membership into the Alliance, and noted Estonia as the lead nation for the Cyber Defence initiative.

Georgia and Estonia stress the importance of the Black Sea region for the common Euro-Atlantic security. Estonia acknowledges the importance of Georgia's active engagement in strengthening the security of the Black Sea region.

Both sides reiterate their respect for fundamental principles of international law, sovereignty and territorial integrity within internationally recognised borders, and the right of IDPs and refugees to safe and dignified return to their homes. Both sides raised their deep concern over grave security and humanitarian implications of Russian Federation's unlawful activities including of integrating the occupied territories of Abkhazia and Tskhinvali region/South Ossetia. Estonia continues to support Georgia's peaceful conflict resolution policy and stresses the importance of achieving progress within the Geneva International Discussions. Georgia highly appreciates the contribution by Estonia to the EU Monitoring Mission. The sides emphasise the necessity of EUMM's unimpeded access to Georgia's occupied territories to ensure safe and normal life of local population.

We affirm our determination to further deepen and diversify our partnership to ensure democracy stability and prosperity in our respective countries and on the European continent.