We Are at a Historical Crossroads – Estonian President

On June 2, Giorgi Margvelashvili, President of Georgia, met with his Estonian counterpart Thomas Hendrik Ilves, and the two attended an expansive meeting between Georgian and Estonian delegations in Tbilisi.

Bilateral relationships between the countries were discussed during the meetings as well as future prospects of cooperation between Georgia and Estonia. One of the main topics of discussion was the security environment in Europe including the situation in Georgia’s occupied regions of Abkhazia and Tskhinvali. 

“Today, we are at a crossroads of very important historical events. The European security environment has completely changed, and what happened in 2008 in Georgia can be regarded as the starting point of this change,” Toomas Hendrik Ilves said, adding that Russia’s invasion of Georgia triggered developments in other countries as well. “This process affected us too - Latvians, Lithuanians, Estonians. In fact, as a result of this, a new security environment has been created,” Ilves maintained.

“It is excellent that I am still in Georgia. I visited Georgia in 2011, 1997 and 1988, but of course, the biggest event was my visit to the country in 2008. Flying over Russia was unsafe back then, and I had to come to Georgia from Azerbaijan, through a bypass. We arrived here by car, in the middle of a war,” the visiting president said.

“Estonia will spare no effort and will show strong support to Georgia on the path of European integration,” was the Estonian president’s promise to Margvelashvili.

Throughout the all-inclusive meeting, the parties also discussed Georgia’s EU aspirations, as Estonia’s experience appears valuable for Georgia.

“EU membership is a good thing, but Georgia must first do its homework if it wants to join,” said the visiting leader. “Do you take everything that comes from Russia seriously?” Ilves asked in response to a journalist’s question about an official Russian statement regarding the recent Riga summit being “a new meeting dancing to the same old tune” (IPN).

The President noted successful completion of technical issues is needed a political decision to be made on visa liberalization by the end of the year, adding that “further implementation will take several months”.

“Of course, it cannot instantly make everyone who wants to travel happy, as its implementation needs time. As for the European perspective, it is here, but the question is when and how will it happen. We are supporters of European democracy, but, on the other hand, countries should take into account that they need to harmonize their legal framework with the European one,” the Estonian President assumed. 

04 June 2015 19:59