TBILISI, DFWatch – German Foreign Affairs Minister Guido Westerwelle will visit Georgia on March 15 as part of a tour of the South Caucasus.

Travelling with him are Markus Loning, the German Federal Government’s Commissioner for Human Rights Policy and Humanitarian Aid and a group of German businessmen.

According to the German Embassy, Guido Westerwelle will meet Georgian president Mikheil Saakashvili and the Foreign Affairs Minister Grigol Vashadze. A meeting is also planned with representatives of the civil sector and the former Georgian President Eduard Shevardnadze.

Westerwelle will appear at the Tbilisi State University to talk about Europe’s relations with South Caucasus countries.

Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister Nino Kalandadze said on March 12 that bilateral as well as multilateral cooperation issues will be discussed at the meeting; measures planned in order to deepen economic and cultural relations; and the progress within projects in the sphere of international development.

According to Kalandadze, the German delegation will be brought up to date about current processes in the country, about the situation in the occupied territories and about the reforms.

“You know that Germany is our friend and partner country. It should be noted that this is the first visit of Mr Westerwelle to Georgia and we attach great importance to the implementation of this visit. The most pleasant fact is that the visit will be at the 20th anniversary of establishing diplomatic relations between Georgia and Germany,” Nino Kalandadze said at today’s briefing.

German Federal Republic was one of the first countries which established diplomatic relations with Georgia on April 13, 1992.

“We are very happy having deep and productive relations with this country, which are actively developed for the welfare of Georgian and German people. We are sure, this visit will be conducted successful and productively,” Kalandadze says.

Government officials see great significance in this meeting and hope there will be paid special attention to Georgia’s European integration and deepening economic relations between the two countries.

“Germany is one of the traditional partners of Georgia. So naturally, the main topics will be Georgia’s security and its further NATO integration and the processes which are currently in progress in the country,” says Akaki Minashvili, member of parliament. He chairs parliament’s foreign affair committee.

Davit Darchiashvili, representative of the ruling party, and in charge of Georgia’s Euro-integration, says that ‘Germany is a leading country in EU and naturally, relations with them contributes to us getting closer to the European structures on the one hand and being closer is multidimensional. There are negotiations on many issues, starting with liberalization of the visa regime, finished with association agreement. Here is also free trade bloc. At the same time bilateral relations with this strategically important country is really one of the priorities for Georgia.’

He hopes that emphasis will be placed on Georgia-NATO relations, EU relations and generally about bilateral relations.

“I know that German business is interested in deepening relations with Georgia. So there will be a discussion on every issue.”

In addition, he says that detailed discussions will also be possible after Westerwelle’s visit has ended.

Germany was the first country which recognized Georgia’s independence (March 22, 1991); and the first country Georgia established diplomatic relations with (April 13, 1922).

The main spheres of cooperation are: economy, reforms (court, society, trade economy, local government); education and culture, military-political cooperation.

68 agreements, contracts and protocols are signed between Georgia and Germany, several documents are under review.

As for economic relations, 49 056 2000 US dollars’ worth of products were exported to Germany in 2011; 424 294 800 US dollars’ worth of products to the EU. Total export in 2011 was 899 854 800 US dollars.

Import from Germany to Georgia was 480 587 900 US dollars, while the whole import from EU was 2 053 080 800 US dollars. The whole import in the country was 7 057 759 700 US dollars.