Georgia’s President: Western Integration Inscribed in the Hearts of Georgians

In her interview with France 24, President Salome Zurabishvili has discussed the determination of the Georgian people to join the EU and NATO, distanced herself from PM Irakli Garibashvili’s statements on Russia sanctions and endorsed President Zelenskyy’s bid for immediate EU membership for Ukraine.

Georgians Feel “More European than Europeans Sometimes”

The President of Georgia told the French broadcaster on March 1 that Russia cannot derail neither Georgia, not Ukraine from the western integration path.

Asked whether Russia’s invasion of Ukraine — preceded by Russian pretext of NATO expansion worries — could change Georgia’s western integration goals, she responded that “Georgia has been invaded and occupied 14 years ago.”

“And not only 14 years ago, that’s the fourth time that Georgia was invaded by different Russias and it has never changed the determination of the Georgian people to join Europe and NATO.”

“The Euro-Atlantic integration is inscribed in our constitution, but it’s also inscribed in the hearts of people which feel in a way they are more Europeans than Europeans sometimes,” she continued.

Moving on to Ukraine, she said “whatever happens, the result will be, that tomorrow’s Ukraine will be anti-Russian… including those provinces that Vladimir Putin is calling as being almost Russian.”

“When you are bombing those cities those cities that you pretend to be Russian and Russian-speaking, I think that’s what is provoking reaction in Russia itself. The Russian population does not understand anymore, if they are brothers, why are [we] bombing brothers?”

Distancing from Garibashvili’s Statements

Commenting on Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili’s statements on refusal to join sanctions against Russia, the President said “I don’t know why he made that declaration.”

Noting that Georgia is already suffering by having two of its regions occupied by Russia, she said “I’m not sure what type of sanctions we could really impose that would really matter at this point.”

Prompted by the journalist, she conceded that sanctions do have a symbolic meaning, saying “that’s why I don’t think such statement [of PM] makes much sense today.”

“I would not have done such statement, I can say it frankly,” she asserted.

“What everybody expects from Georgia is the open solidarity and that’s why I have come here demonstrating to President Zelenskyy that Georgian population has been demonstrating very clearly.”

“We are in total solidarity with Ukraine,” she noted.

“EU Membership not Confrontational”

In the interview, the Georgian President stressed that the EU membership is no threat for anyone.

“It’s not confrontational,” she said, adding that neither could be seen as confrontational Georgia’s and Ukraine’s quest to NATO membership.

The President said she fully agrees and supports Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s move to apply for the EU membership..

“I don’t know whether it will be immediate membership but what is clear, is there is a window of opportunity, readiness by the European nations to say yes, come in,” she noted.

“What is a form of coming in, it remains to be seen, but I want to see Georgia in the same seat.”

Read also other part of the interview:

Further Read:

This post is also available in: ქართული (Georgian) Русский (Russian)


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