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Georgian premier suggests Peaceful Neighborhood Initiative for Black Sea region

According to Irakli Garibashvili, Tbilisi was ready to host the first meeting within the framework of this initiative

UNITED NATIONS, September 25. /TASS/. In his address to the 76th UN General Assembly on Friday, Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili put forward the Peaceful Neighborhood Initiative to promote peace and stability in the Black Sea region.

"From a geopolitical perspective, the Black Sea region is growing ever more important. The Black Sea is on the front lines of a dynamic regional chess match. It is a microcosm of conflict management; if we can maintain peace and stability here, we can do so elsewhere," the Georgian premier said.

"Therefore, our goal is to ensure peace and stability in the entire region," he continued. "In the South Caucasus, I propose what I am calling the Peaceful Neighborhood Initiative to promote stability in our region."

"This format will facilitate dialogue and confidence-building, and lead to the implementation of practical solutions to regional issues of common interest with our US and EU partners," Garibashvili said.

In his words, Tbilisi was ready to host the first meeting within the framework of this initiative.

"Georgia stands ready to host an international gathering in Tbilisi to discuss the prospects of our Peaceful Neighborhood Initiative, involving our South Caucasian neighbors and international partners," he added.

The premier also reaffirmed his country’s readiness to join NATO and the European Union and once again accused Russia of "occupation of Georgian sovereign lands."

Overnight to August 8, 2008, Georgia launched an armed aggression against its former autonomous region of South Ossetia. Russia defended its civilians and peacekeepers, who had been on duty in the region since 1992. The five-day war claimed more than 1,000 lives, including 72 Russian servicemen. On August 26, 2008 Russia recognized the independence of South Ossetia and another former Georgian republic, Abkhazia.

International Discussions on Security and Stability in the South Caucasus have been held in Geneva since 2008 with the participation of Russia, Abkhazia, South Ossetia and the United States through the mediation of the UN, EU and OSCE envoys. The Geneva Discussions remain the only platform for dialogue between Sukhum, Tskhinval and Tbilisi.