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Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda to pay first official visit to Georgia

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Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda to pay first official visit to Georgia

Vano Shlamov AFP Getty
Photo: Vano Shlamov/AFP/Getty

Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda is set to arrive in Georgia today for an official state visit.

Over the next three days, he is expected to meet with high-level governmental and non-governmental figures. Nauseda’s office highlighted “reforms,” “consolidation of democracy,” and supporting Georgia’s bid for membership in the EU and NATO as the foremost goals of the visit. He is also set to visit the Russian-occupied territory of South Ossetia to indicate Lithuanian-Georgian solidarity against Russia.

Lithuania has long been supportive of closer Georgian ties to NATO and the EU due to their mutually antagonistic relationships with Russia. To this end, Lithuania has attempted to increase Tbilisi’s candidacy for NATO and EU membership by attempting to mediate its most recent political crisis set off by irregularities in last November’s parliamentary election. The opposition boycotted parliament and demanded new elections. The February arrest of opposition leader Nika Melia—released on EU-paid bail in May—exacerbated the crisis.

Expect Nauseda’s visit to signal continued diplomatic pressure on the ruling Georgian Dream party and the opposition United National Movement to come to a settlement to political crisis ahead of June’s NATO summit. Without a settlement NATO members may perceive the crisis as signifying democratic backsliding.

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