Georgian PM: Georgia Firm on its Euro-Atlantic Path

The Atlantic Council (AC) of the US has published an interview with the Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili discussing Georgia’s security, Euro-Atlantic integration and economic development.

According to the AC, Kvirikashvili, who was catapulted to office in December 2015 after the abrupt resignation of his predecessor, Irakli Garibashvili, in his previous role as Foreign Minister, lead significant initiatives to advance Georgia’s Euro-Atlantic and European integration efforts.

The topics discussed throughout the interview concerned why Georgia qualifies to be part of NATO, the former Soviet bloc nation’s relations with Russia, Tbilisi’s expectations from its western partners, particularly the United States and his plans to fix Georgia’s economy.

The Georgian PM stated that NATO’s statement on the open door policy adopted at the December 2015 ministerial was of particular importance for Georgia as it confirmed that Georgia has all the practical tools necessary to prepare for Alliance membership. “We are determined to utilize those practical tools to the fullest possible extent in order to support a political decision on Georgia’s NATO membership.”

According to Kvirikashvili, European and Euro-Atlantic integration is a firm choice of the people of Georgia and is a matter of broad consensus between major political forces in Georgia. “Georgia’s choice is determined by the universal values of democracy, human rights, rule of law, freedom and peace.”

The PM emphasized the United States is an important strategic ally of Georgia and the relationship between the countries at all levels of government has never been stronger. “On a personal level, I want to be a bridge between our two countries. I have great memories of my time as a graduate student at the University of Illinois. It is a nice coincidence that President Obama, US Ambassador to Georgia Ian Kelly and I all have ties to Illinois.”

As for the relations with Russia, the PM declared that however Russia’s recent decision on the visa facilitation for Georgians travelling to Russia should be seen as a positive development, in the face of Russian actions, such as the so-called cooperation agreements with de-facto authorities in Abkhazia and South Ossetia “we cannot let our guard down.”

To view the full interview click here:

Photo credit: Reuters/David Mdzinarishvili

Zviad Adzinbaia

21 January 2016 13:48