Georgia’s president meets British officials in London

Georgia Materials 26 April 2007 16:58 (UTC +04:00)

( Civil ) - President Saakashvili, who has been paying an official visit to Britain since April 23, will hold talks with British Finance Minister Gordon Brown today.

On April 25 President Saakashvili met with British Defense Minister Des Browne and discussed Georgia's NATO aspirations, as well as defense and security issues.

Earlier on the same day President Saakashvili met British Prime Minister Tony Blair, where the sides mostly focused on Georgia's possible integration into NATO.

"I think the partnership framework that Georgia has with NATO allows the proper evolution of Georgia and we have supported that partnership and we will work with Georgia over the coming period of time to make it evolve. And I think again the key thing here is for those members of NATO to see the cooperation between NATO and Georgia grow... the fact that Georgia and ourselves are working very closely in what is a very troubled situation in Iraq at the moment is also important for that," Prime Minister Blair said at a joint briefing with President Saakashvili following the talks.

He said that Britain would boost economic cooperation with Georgia, where important reforms have been implemented recently that would improve the investment climate significantly.

President Saakashvili expressed the hope that British FDI in Georgia, amounting to USD 200 last year, would significantly increase following his visit.

The sides also focused on relations with Russia, saying they should be based on mutual values and principles.

"The reason why we have developed a close relationship with Georgia over the past few years is because in terms of economic and political development Georgia is making not just real progress, but is aligning itself with values we happen to believe in. It is a matter of belief this, not just a matter of power," Blair said.

"We always had some complexities and difficulties in relations with Russia... However of course we believe that we need to have a stable, secure, confident Russia and we fully support it... Russians are important partners, they are very important for us and they are very important for the rest of Europe, but also Europe is very important for them," President Saakashvili said at the new briefing.