Austrian Foreign Minister and OSCE Chairman Sebastian Kurz has congratulated
the Georgian people on yesterday’s historic vote to allow for visa-free travel
to the Schengen Area.
As the representative of a European Union (EU) member state, I welcome
this important step forward”, Kurz said during his official visit to
With 553 votes in favour, 66 against and 28 abstaining, the European
Parliament (EP) approved visa-free travel for Georgian citizens to most
countries of the EU at a plenary session yesterday.
Meeting with Georgia’s Foreign Minister Mikheil Janelidze today Kurz said
Georgia is now following a path which will strengthen and deepen Georgia-EU
"We very much appreciate the strong and consecutive support of the
Government of Austria towards Georgia’s territorial integrity and its
Euro-integration process”, Minister Janelidze said.
Minister Janelidze thanked his Austrian counterpart for giving priority
to Georgian issues on the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe
Discussing how OSCE could influence the peaceful regulation of the
Georgia-Russian conflict, the ministers spoke about security, human rights and
humanitarian problems that people are facing on the both sides of the
Administrative Boundary Line (ABL).
Kurz believes Georgia should strengthen cooperation not only with the EU but
with Russia as well to stand strong against the threat from radicalism and
terrorism and contribute to building trust among the people.
"We should try to improve the lives of ordinary people”, Kurz said.
Kurz also believes the opening of an Austrian Embassy in Georgia last
September will positively reflect on Georgian-Austrian cooperation in various
areas including business.
Taking over the OSCE Chairmanship at the beginning of this year, Kurz said
the organization could "provide all necessary tools for promoting de-escalation
and enabling sustainable political solutions to the conflicts in the OSCE
Later today Kurz visited Administrative Boundary Line (ABL) in the village of
Ergneti, near Georgia's breakaway region of Tskhinvali (South Ossetia), where
the regular meetings of Incident Prevention and Response Mechanism (IPRM) take
place. He also met with Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) living in one of the
nearby IDP settlements.
The IPRM was created in February 2009 as a result of the Geneva Discussions
that followed the 2008 Russia-Georgia conflict in Georgia. The meetings were an
opportunity to identify and discuss potential risks and follow-up of incidents
and issues affecting the communities on a daily basis. The meetings were
co-facilitated by the OSCE and the European Union Monitoring Mission (EUMM) in