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PM Kvirikashvili on Georgia’s EU, NATO Integration

“Georgia is no longer a post-[Soviet] country. I think we need to get rid of this post clichés. We are a country which can be easily called Eastern European country,” the Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili noted at the Bratislava Global Security Forum (GLOBSEC) on May 28.

Speaking on the “Eastern Neighborhood 2017” panel alongside Foreign Ministers of Ukraine and Latvia, Pavlo Klimkin and Edgars Rinkēvičs, respectively, as well as Andrea Thompson, National Security Advisor to the Vice President of the United States, and Russian State Duma Member Vyacheslav Nikonov, PM Kvirikashvili emphasized that the visa liberalization is Georgia’s “important milestone,” which brings “tangible results for European aspiration of Georgia.”

“This is not only free travel for Georgians, but it also has a deep political meaning that Europe opened the door for Georgians. This is a political step from Europe, again appreciating Georgia’s efforts,” he said.

The Prime Minister then spoke on the upcoming Eastern Partnership Summit in Brussels in November, saying that the country expects “political deliverables” at the Summit. “We hope very much that there will be a strong political statement reiterating the same spirit [as the Rome Declaration]. Also we expect that there will be practical deliverables to work through different instruments, to improve connectivity with Europe, to improve the infrastructure in Georgia, to improve the education system,” he said.

Kvirikashvili also highlighted that “having stable political allies on the eastern flanks of Europe is increasingly important.” In this context, he pointed out that Georgia is not only “consumer of security, but a provider of security,” and added that the country is actively contributing to international operations, including the Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan and the crisis management operations in the Central African Republic and Mali. “We are committed to be present everywhere where civilized world deems important to engage in the peacekeeping and making regions and countries stable.”

Responding to the remarks of Russian State Duma Member Vyacheslav Nikonov, who noted in his speech that Russia is not against of EU enlargement, including to Ukraine, Georgia, and Moldova, but opposes their NATO membership, Kvirikashvili said Nikonov’s words are “absolutely senseless” since “more than 70 percent of Georgian population favors NATO integration, more than 80 percent of Georgia’s population favors EU integration, and we are for value-based integration and we believe that this goals will be fulfilled with consistency and dedication.”

The main question, Kvirikashvili went on, is “what is Georgia for Russia? What is the map of Georgia, what is the country they are talking about?”  “This is the biggest question and I am sorry that mentioning the lower pace of economic growth of the country’s, the stability of which is undermined by the Russian intervention, sounds very, very sarcastic,” Kvirikashvili quipped in response to the Russian MP’s remarks on the state of economy in the former Soviet Eastern European countries.

“We all are naturally and logically interested to have a stable and democratic neighbor, there is no doubt about it, but this partnership should be based on the cornerstone, baseline principle of respecting territorial integrity and sovereignty and sovereign decisions of nations,” PM Kvirikashvili said, referring to the Russian Federation.

Founded eleven years ago, the GLOBSEC Bratislava Global Security Forum gathers global leaders, as well as foreign policy and security experts to deliberate on European and global security affairs. On the sideline of the Forum, PM Kvirikashvili held a meeting with Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico.

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