Georgian Minister of Economy Participated in International Transport Forum
10 May, 2012

Minister of Economy and sustainable Development of Georgia, Vera Kobalia participated in the annual meeting of International Transport Forum focused on maritime piracy problems that took place in Leipzig on May 2-4, 2012, Ministry of Economic and Sustainable Development informed Georgian Journal.

 

Somalia piracy was under the spotlight of the event. United International Community recognized piracy as number one obstacle for the development of international trade system and maritime transport industry.

The participant ministers of Leipzig forum made a statement about the necessity of solving piracy problem including the use of violent methods. Georgian minister meantime stressed on availability of peaceful solution of this problem without any ransom payment. The point is 15 Georgian sailors taken by Somali pirates in fall of 2010 were released early this year after negotiations led by Georgian authority involving even President of Georgia without paying USD 1 million of ransom required by pirates.

Several months ago in London, Kobalia spoke about this issue at the annual meeting of International Maritime Organization when Georgian sailors were still captivated by Somali pirates. The organization is planning to gather representatives from countries interested in piracy issues in the middle of May. Special commission was also created in order to deal with these issues and Georgia is a member of this commission.

20 thousand Georgian sailors are troubled by other pirates besides the ones from Somalia. They frequently have problems with their employers thus contract policies must also be reviewed. They face biggest problems with Turkish ship owners. To alleviate this problem Kobalia discussed this issue with Bynal Yildirim, Minister of Transport, Maritime Issues and Communications of Turkey, and received a promise to find a legal solution to the problems.

With her Turkish colleague Kobalia also discussed the issue of entering Georgian waters in particular waters of Georgian breakaway Abkhazia violated by Turkish ships from now and on and once again Turkish Minister declared Georgian sovereignty and territorial wholeness.

Kobalia also discussed cooperation prospects with the representatives from China and Korea, of possible requalification and employment chance of Georgian sailors in these countries.

With Turkish, Chinese and Korean representatives Kobalia also emphasized the development of Eurasian transport corridor so as to boost new logistical centers in Georgia and turn the country into an important mediator.