At an event dedicated to the 29th anniversary of the Fall of Sokhumi at the President’s Atoneli Residence, Georgian President Salome Zurabishvili delivered a speech that reiterated condemnation of Aleksandr Lukashenka’s recent visit to Abkhazia and discussed the future of relations with the occupied region.
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“I cannot fail to mention how unacceptable and concerning what happened today is,” the President underscored. “It’s a very cynical thing when the President of Belarus goes to Abkhazia, in violation of the Law on Occupied Territories, in violation of all the rules and principles of international law, in violation of our supposedly friendly ties.”
In that context, President Zurabishvili said she was “glad” that she has still now refused to approve the appointment of a new Georgian Ambassador to Belarus.
“We must protect our rules, our territory, and our principles, and we must ask everyone to do so,” she emphasized and highlighted that the visit to Abkhazia coincided with the recent referendums held in Ukraine by Russia “which we should all be condemning unanimously.”
“It’s so cynical to use so-called democratic practices to strengthen your violent occupation and the use of your military,” she said.
Relations with Abkhazia
Regarding occupied Abkhazia itself, President Zurabishvili urged, “We must look toward the future, a future that is very interesting.”
She underscored that today’s world is changing and “there are a lot of new opportunities but also threats at the same time.”
“We must have the courage to see a world that is changing. We must show the youth and everyone else with them what the perspective is, what is the united Georgia we dream of,” she added.
President Zurabishvili urged “more engagement, exchanges, and economy embedded in these relationships” with Abkhazia while underscoring that “without development, it’s all just words.”
While on the subject, the President also brought attention to the narrative of a ‘second front,’ calling it “an idea that comes from Russia” meant to “scare the Abkhazians by alleging that Georgia is a threat.”
“The thing is, the whole world already knows who and where the danger is,” she said and expressed surprise at “how we’re addressing this absurd topic.”
“I’m sure even in Abkhazia they can see very well what Georgia is really like and that this Georgia is the path to a real future,” she remarked and emphasized that Georgia is “a real bridge and a road to Europe.”
“If we enter Europe, which I very much hope for and believe in, our unification will really happen there,” she concluded. “This is the message we have to pass on to them, this is how we will live together and build.”