Philip Hammond Emphasizes Regional Importance at Young Politicians Forum

In the framework of his visit to Georgia, the United Kingdom (UK) Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond attended the Young Politicians Forum which annually brings together future leaders from the South Caucasus region.

In his welcoming speech the Secretary stressed the importance of the diversity and regional location of Georgia.

“The opportunities for different people of this diverse region to mix and to understand one another should be growing not decreasing. There is an economic cost to unresolved conflicts, particularly when closed borders prevent the regional trade that is such an effective engine of economic growth. There is also real human cost to consider, too,” Mr Hammond said. “I know the cost of conflicts from my time as Secretary of Defense of the UK. Twenty-five years on from the collapse of the Soviet Union, thousands of refugees and internally displaced persons in this region remain unable to return to their homes, including many here in Georgia. Working together is the key to unlocking the true potential of this region- a region which is located on the crossroad of Europe and Asia, a traditional crossing place between East and West and North and South; a region that could become a significant link in a new Silk Road.”

The Young Politicians Forum, which aims to develop the ability of youth and to build a bridge of trust among them, was held this year for the fourth time, with the support of Georgia, The Netherlands and Great Britain.

GEORGIA TODAY spoke to Levan Tsutskiridze, Netherlands Institute for Multiparty Democracy. “It was very important that participants from Armenia, Azerbaijan, Ukraine, and The Netherlands heard the message from the leaders of those countries which play a key role in shaping the world order. Also, I’m delighted at the consensus of the participants on issues such as security, democracy and ensuring of individual freedom,” Tsutskiridze said.

During his visit, the UK Foreign Secretary also met the Georgian Prime Minister, members of the Georgian government and the Speaker of the Georgian Parliament. He also laid a wreath at the Heroes Memorial in Tbilisi and visited the construction site of BP’s South Caucasus pipeline expansion which, along with the Shah Deniz 2 project, is bringing a significant investment of £20bn to the region.

Meri Taliashvili

31 March 2016 20:59