Minister for Foreign Affairs visits Georgia to assess conditions on the ground.
The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr. Micheál Martin T.D., leaves today on a two-day visit to Georgia for meetings with the country’s political leaders and to assess the humanitarian and security situation following the military action by Georgia and the response by Russia at the beginning of August.
The Minister said:
“Together with my EU partners, I salute the outstanding efforts of the French EU Presidency in negotiating agreements that saw an end to the fighting in August and the withdrawal of Russian troops from near South Ossetia and Abkhazia and put in place a process for achieving a settlement of the conflict that is continuing in Geneva today.
“While in Georgia, I will meet the Foreign Minister and the Prime Minister for discussions about the current situation and the prospects ahead. I will also be visiting a camp for people displaced by the war outside the capital, Tbilisi. I intend going on patrol near South Ossetia with the four Irish monitors who volunteered as part of the European Union Monitoring Mission. I would like to pay tribute to their contribution to this valuable work and I am pleased to confirm that Ireland will continue to make personnel available to the Mission during 2009.
“I urge all parties to the conflict to participate fully in the talks process that is continuing in Geneva under the chairmanship of the EU Special Representative for the Crisis in Georgia, Pierre Morel.”
The Minister will also receive a briefing from the EUMM on the security situation in Georgia. While in Tbilisi, he will open a Centre for European Studies, established in association with the University of Limerick and funded by Irish Aid, meet with the Irish community and pay a visit to the First Step Foundation for disabled children, which is also funded by Irish Aid, voluntary donations and by the Georgian Government.
19th November 2008