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Minister Erjavec visits Georgia and takes part in the Tbilisi Belt and Road Forum

Tbilisi, 28 November 2017 – Minister Erjavec is on an official visit to Georgia, accompanied by a delegation of Slovenian business representatives. He met with his host, Foreign Minister Mikheil Janelidze, and was also received by all the senior political representatives of Georgia, the President, the Prime Minister and the Chairperson of the Parliament. During the visit, the Minister also took part in an international conference, the Tbilisi Belt and Road Forum, and addressed the participants.


Minister Erjavec started his visit with an address to the introductory panel of the Forum, underlining support for the Chinese Belt & Road initiative and Georgia’s strategic importance on the new Silk Road. He advocated strengthening cooperation between countries from Europe to China, highlighting the importance of good infrastructure for international trade, which has to be based on joint benefits and responsibilities, promote social inclusion, adequate financing and sustainable environmental trends.
The Minister was pleased to note the excellent and friendly relations between the two countries, advocating enhanced political dialogue and cooperation in all areas of common interest, particularly the economy, which offers many unexplored opportunities. He invited his counterpart Janelidze to visit Slovenia in 2018, accompanied by a business delegation, to continue efforts to enhance economic cooperation between the two countries. He also reasserted Slovenia’s ongoing support in education, with Slovenia offering scholarships to Georgian students.
Minister Erjavec commended Georgia on its progress, which is paving the way to the EU. Georgia is the most successful Eastern Partnership country and a key EU partner in the region. He expressed the belief that the country would continue on its course towards Euro-Atlantic structures and voiced Slovenia’s support in this process. Georgia is among NATO’s closest and most reliable partners, and also the best prepared aspirant for membership. The Minister stressed its progress in the comprehensive package of measures for Georgia, to which Slovenia has contributed by sending an expert on safe communications.
During the visit, the Minister reiterated full support for Georgian sovereignty and territorial integrity, advocating the continued peaceful resolution of conflicts in Abkhazia and South Ossetia, including dialogue within the scope of the Geneva format. 
The Minister's Georgian interlocutors expressed interest in enhancing political and economic cooperation with Slovenia, with which they share many similar interests. The two countries will soon celebrate 25 years of diplomatic relations and enjoy long-standing ties, which were established when their capitals Ljubljana and Tbilisi became partner towns 40 years ago.
Minister Erjavec also conveyed condolences to his hosts on the declaration of the day of remembrance of at least 11 people who died during the fire at a hotel in Batumi.