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Defiant, Zurabishvili Vows to Fight on for EU Integration

Addressing the nation late this evening, President Salome Zurabishvili said she “was not going anywhere” and would continue to do all she could to promote Georgia’s European Union membership. This comes after the ruling party announced its intention to launch the impeachment procedures, claiming the President violated the Constitution by starting her European tour even though the government rejected her travel plan.

Speaking against the backdrop of the Orbeliani Presidential Palace illuminated with the EU and Georgia flags, she said: “I am addressing you because I am only accountable to you because you elected me, and I feel accountable to you.”

She said: “I know you elected me because you knew me all my life for what I was: pro-European, supporter of Georgia’s European future, and partly European,” adding “I know what future you want, […] what future the next generation, the young generation wants.”

She stressed that all the problems Georgia faces today, be it corruption, emigration, or the “totally uncontrolled” influx of Russians into the country, can only be gradually solved when Georgia is part of the EU. “This is Georgia’s only perspective,” she emphasized.

“That’s why I am not going anywhere,” said Zurabishvili, defying the calls for impeachment. “I am here, and I will go wherever I have to go because I am protecting the Constitution of this country, and I swore to do so when I took the pledge as President. I will remain faithful to that oath,” she said, noting that the Constitution obliges all Georgian institutions to do everything in their power to facilitate Georgia’s EU integration and that she considers this her “ultimate and highest responsibility.”

The President said that she would continue to visit European capitals and was proud that she was doing so with her own financial means. However, she said “it’s not right” for the President to organize such meetings privately. She noted, however, that she was determined to continue her European tour to bring the voice and aspirations of Georgian citizens to the EU capitals.

She also said that she was proud to represent the choice of the Georgian people and that the trust and respect she enjoys in EU capitals was earned by the Georgians who took to the streets in protest [referring to the massive rallies against the Russian-style Foreign Agents Law on March 7-9]: “If you had not come out and shown the whole of Europe how important this perspective is for you, I probably would not have had such trust from other leaders.”

She said, “Everyone knows that Georgians will never bow to Russia, and we must protect this together.” Zurabishvili concluded: “We will continue on this path until we reach where Georgia belongs. And it will be good if the government realizes this and comes to terms with it. And if not, my hope is with you, and you can have your hope in me; we will act together.”

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