By H.E. Mr. Beka Dvali

Ambassador of Georgia to South Africa

Photo: His Exellency Mr. Beka Dvali, Ambassador of Georgia to South Africa 


Today, on 26 May Georgia celebrates the 104th year since the establishment of  the first independent Georgian Democratic Republic  in 1918. That independence, suspended by brutal Soviet invasion in 1921, was restored  successfully 31 years ago on 9 April 1991. On our Independence Day we also commemorate and cherish the millennia  of unique Georgian national identity, cultural heritage and the statehood that had existed in a form of a Georgian Kingdom for centuries.

The commemoration occurs at a  time when Georgia embraces African  partnerships, advances towards European  integration, while remaining resilient  against a backdrop of geo-political turbulence in its region.

Since the restoration of its independence, Georgia has overcome  numerous challenges through trial and  error despite facing foreign adversity.  Georgia has embarked on a decisive path  to strengthen its parliamentary democracy and pursue sustainable development.  We established constitutional guarantees for human rights, civil liberties and  economic freedom, underpinned by  economic diversification, citizen-centric  efficient state systems and anti-corruption  measures.

Georgia’s foreign policy emphasizes  strong global partnerships, including  those with Africa. As a European  country, its outreach starts at home  by deepening ties with its neighbors  and pursuing full European and Euro Atlantic integration. We have entered  into Association Agreement with the  European Union (EU), and acceded to  the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade  (DCFTA) pact with the EU. Georgian  citizens have started to enjoy visa free  travel into the Schengen Area. This year  Georgia expects to become a candidate  for EU membership.

We have also managed to transform  Georgia into an indispensable hub for  East-West interaction and multifaceted  trade via a multi-modal transportation  system. Georgia already contributes to  increased opportunities for facilitation  of Europe’s energy security by being  a conduit for Caspian oil and gas to  European markets. A recent example  of Georgia’s increased role in the  international arena was the introduction  of a new Rail-Sea route connecting Asia  to Europe.

While our priorities start with our  neighborhood, we have also broadened  diplomatic partnerships into Africa.  Our basic message is clear and simple:  South Africa and African peers should  view Georgia as a reliable partner  and sincere friend at the crossroads  of Europe and Asia. This creates the

potential to develop mutually beneficial  relations across a wide spectrum of  areas including trade, investment, arts,  culture, sports, education, and people

to-people contacts, among others.

Georgians view South Africa as  an example of vibrant constitutional  democracy, diversity, good values,  and media and economic freedoms.  The South African liberation struggle  created inspiring global heroes such as  the late Nelson Mandela and other anti apartheid stalwarts who lived as shining  examples of democratic transformation, reconciliation and mutual forgiveness.

Since the establishment of diplomatic  relations in 1993 and the opening of  the Georgian Embassy in Pretoria in  2011, Georgia and South Africa have  developed institutional frameworks  for continued political dialogue. They  held rounds of Senior Officials Political  Consultations as well as facilitated inter parliamentary engagement. They have  further cooperated with mutual support  in the international fora.

The establishment and successful  operation of the Southern Africa Georgia  Chamber of Commerce (SAGCC)  boosted various business partnerships.  A twinning arrangement between  Cape Winelands District Municipality  and the Georgian wine Region of  Kakheti has commenced. The Georgia

South Africa Winemaker Exchange  Programme is one the elements of this  arrangement, benefiting previously  disadvantaged young South Africans.  The formalization of cooperative ties  between higher educational institutions  and joint research projects between the  two countries’ scientists in various areas  are equally notable.

The Georgia-South Africa long standing interaction in Rugby has  intensified. The Georgian Rugby  franchise “Black Lions” features in  the Carling Currie Cup tournament.  Cooperation in rugby between our two  nations has extended beyond sports to  people-to-people interaction, bilateral  tourism and the emergence of new  business ideas and initiatives. Georgia  has opened to South Africans and as a  good will granted unilaterally visa-free  entry. Georgians residing in Southern  Africa, including top-level medical  practitioners, business executives  and academics, are contributing  considerably to their host countries.  A number of South Africans are also  pursuing their professional careers and  business opportunities in Georgia.

From the Embassy in Pretoria, Georgia

forges partnerships with 12 Southern  African States: Angola, Botswana,  Eswatini, DRC, Lesotho, Madagascar,  Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

We continue to institutionalize our  relations with these African nations,  activating diplomatic channels such  as the network of Georgia’s Honorary  Consuls and others.

While pursuing a positive domestic  and international agenda, Georgia,  regrettably, has been affected by the  imperialistic policies of Russia, which  continues to occupy 20% of our  territory illegally – Georgian provinces  of Abkhazia and Tskhinvali Region.

This occupation has caused a humani tarian disaster. Hundreds of thousands  of our citizens, predominantly ethnic  Georgians, fell victims to Russian war  crimes and ethnic cleansing. Hundreds  of thousands remain internally displaced  persons and refugees. Few Georgians  still residing in their ancestral homes  on occupied territories suffer from  apartheid-like treatment, discrimination  and persecution. Going through such a  traumatic experience ourselves, we feel  the suffering and pain of the Ukrainian  people and stand in full solidarity with  Ukraine, which has also fallen victim to  aggression and unprovoked war.

Despite the dire circumstances,  Georgia continues to explore peaceful  solutions whilst remaining alert and  prepared to defend itself. Unwavering  international solidarity to our sovereignty  and territorial integrity stems from  the fundamental principles of the UN  Charter and international law. This,  coupled with the realization globally  that these principles must be protected  more effectively, strengthens our  confidence that the virus of occupation  and annexation of sovereign Nations,  including Georgia, is short-lived and  shall end.

Throughout the years, Georgia has  gained numerous Southern African  friends, who have been celebrating  independence and sovereignty day with  us annually. As the first Ambassador  of Georgia to Southern Africa, I feel  privileged for the unforgettable experiences in this beautiful and enigmatic  continent of Africa.

The warmth, hospitality, wisdom,  friendliness, resilience, zest for life  that ordinary South Africans display  humbles one. Georgia looks forward to  further deepening friendship with South  Africa – the Nation that has the power  to capture a special place in everyone’s  hearts and minds, forever.



The Diplomatic Informer
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