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President Zurabishvili: If EU Rejects Georgian Bid, It will be a Great Victory for Russia

On October 29, Georgian President Salome Zurabishvili gave an interview to CBS News. During the interview, she claimed that Russia is using “hybrid warfare” tactics to “test the ground” in Georgia, adding that if the EU rejects Georgia’s application, “it will be a great victory for Russia.”

President Zurabishvili discussed the potential risks posed by Russian immigrants in Georgia. She stated: “It’s very unnerving when in your own country you have people that are talking the language of the enemy. And that believe that they’re at home… They’re behaving and believing that they are very much at home. So there is a fine line. And that line has to be kept so that we do not have incidents in the future that would allow Russia to use their favorite doctrine of protecting Russian speaking citizens.”

When asked why Georgia didn’t simply say, “no more Russians through our border”, the President answered: “That is a question for the authorities… I don’t have the executive powers, unfortunately.”

Speaking more about the authorities in Georgia, the interviewer noted that the Prime Minister didn’t seem eager to join the European Union, to which President Zurabishvili replied: “Well, that’s a question the whole population is asking, whether they really want it or – whether it’s lip service.”

President Salome Zurabishvili also spoke about whether the West, and the US in particular, were responsive enough and supportive enough of Georgia at this moment. She said: “I don’t think so. And I will take one concrete example. I’ve been a President now for five years. And I’ve not managed… to have any form of meeting at my level, which would be the President or the Vice President even through a phone call… I understand that there are more urgent issues. But I think that some more public recognition is needed.”

When asked about the nature of this recognition, President Zurabishvili clarified: “Of the fact that United States is supporting our candidate status within the European Union. I know that is the language that the U.S. has with our European partners, but that being repeated by the highest level would be meaningful for the Georgian population.”

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