by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Georgia
and the Minister of Foreign Affairs
of the Republic of Italy
on the occasion of the 20th Anniversary
of the Establishment of Diplomatic Relations
On May 11, 2012 we celebrated the 20th Anniversary of the establishment of Diplomatic Relations between Georgia and the Republic of Italy, which have flourished due to the longstanding and enduring historic ties closely bonding our two countries.
Remarkably, initial diplomatic ties between our nations might date back to 144A.D. By then, the RomanEmperor Antonius Pius invited King Parsman of Iberia to Rome. On this occasion the King signed a treaty associating the Kingdom of Iberia to the Roman Empire and putting it under its protection. More recently, Italy was among the first countries to recognise the Democratic Republic of Georgia after its creation in 1918 and to appoint a Minister Plenipotentiary to Tbilisi.
Since the early days, the historical record of our relations has grown and includes numerous prominent individuals of Georgian and Italian descent, who had lived and worked in our countries for the benefit of our nations. Perhaps, one of the most emotional episodes of our common history is related to the World War Two events and to those Georgian soldiers, who fought alongside the Italian partisans of the 118th Brigade Garibaldi. This story unfolded in 1944, when the altruistic self-sacrifice performed by a Georgian soldier and a partisan in the Italian Resistance Movement, Pore Mosulishvili, had proved to be a dramatic example of heroism, which saved the lives of all his brothers-in-arms.
In recent years, the Italian Government and People stood behind Georgia in some of the most difficult moments of its history. The hospitality offered by Italian families to hundreds of internally displaced children since the nineties, the Italian direct involvement in the international mediation after the tragic events in August 2008, the humanitarian assistance provided by the Italian Government to cover the social and housing problems of IDPs and the quick deployment of a numerous Italian contingent within the European Union Monitoring Mission in Georgia are among the best examples of heartfelt sympathy which are highly commended by Georgia.
However, it is not only our past, but also our common future that especially bonds us. Both nations share common values, such as respect for democracy, rule of law, human rights and fundamental political freedoms, including the freedom of religion. We welcome the progress attained in the euro-atlantic dialogue with Georgia. In particular, the finalization of the Association Agreement between Georgia and the EU would certainly pave the way for a comprehensive strengthening of the EU-Georgia relations leading to a process towards deeper political association and economic integration, which, in turn would be beneficial for Georgia’s prosperity, democratic consolidation and economic modernization.
Moreover, the two nations share mutual respect for the fundamental principles of international law and a joint vision for regional peace and stability based on tolerance, mutual respect and dialogue. In view of this, Italy continues to firmly uphold Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity in all relevant fora.
We are extremely pleased that in the course of 20 years since the establishment of diplomatic relations between our two states, we have witnessed both the dynamic development of our cooperation in all spheres of interest along with huge opportunities that remain yet untapped.
Georgia and Italy continue to exert joint efforts towards fighting terrorism and securing peace and stability in the world through our valuable contribution to the ISAF operation in Afghanistan.
Moreover, in the frames of our all-encompassing cooperation, we have been working successfully to strengthen the trade and economic relations, which are developing very intensively against the background of a number of reciprocal economic agreements that have been signed by the two countries. It is with great satisfaction that we underline that in 2011 our trade volume has peaked after a substantial increase, and that the number of visas issued to Georgian citizens has reached an all-time high during the same year. Hereby, we would like to especially point out our cooperation in the field of culture and education, which is strengthening and deepening on an annual basis.
Bearing in mind the existing close historic, human, cultural, political and economic ties, and particularly noting our satisfaction with the current level of bilateral and multilateral relations, the sides reiterate their mutual desire to further diversify and expand their political and economic relations; further promote people-to-people contacts to the mutual benefit of their nations; and strengthen the joint contribution to the preservation of peace, stability and understanding in the world.
Minister of Foreign Affairs of Georgia
Giulio Terzi di Sant’Agata
Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Italy