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President Margvelashvili: Georgia Paid a Price for Choosing Euro-Atlantic Direction, but Moves Forward on This Path, Envisaging Prospective Integration

Giorgi Margvelashvili, President of Georgia has opened the 14th international forum “Sustaining Peace and Development in a Changing Word”, organized by Nizami Ganjavi International Center and discussed Georgia’s contribution to global security and stability.
President Margvelashvili emphasized that Georgia, being the largest contributor among non-EU member countries, has been actively engaged in international peacekeeping missions in Afghanistan, Mali and Central Africa since the first day of independence. Georgia, facing the challenges of instability and security, protects the global security along with partner countries. President Margvelashvili highlighted the importance of forming a unified position to confront these challenges.
He has underscored Georgia’s successful relations to the EU and NATO and discussed the prospects for Georgia’s integration into these alliances. President Margvelashvili believes that the Russian aggression and annexation policy deter Georgia’s prospective integration. In order to achieve the ultimate goal of integration, he said, partner countries should have common values, united vision of international relations and strong ties in order to create a more stable environment.
“Since the very first days of independence, Georgia's security, stability, territorial integrity and sovereignty have been violated and this is a tragic part of our recent history; but, at the same time, Georgia still has been an active contributor to the global security and stability also from the very first days of independence. Georgian men and women in uniform were participating in the very first missions in Kosovo, later continuing participation in peacekeeping missions in other places around the world. Today, we are the largest contributor per capita to peacekeeping missions in Afghanistan, Mali and Central African Republic. We do acknowledge how important it is to stand together, united to combat the threats and challenges of global security.
Let us look at the process of the last thirty years, after the collapse of the Soviet System and the Cold War and evaluate our progress and achievements since that time. First of all, the question is how are we, all of us who have been aiming at a better and more stable future after the end of the Cold War benefiting from this process. I would say that there is a great benefit that we see in Europe, among the countries that have joined the EU and NATO, meaning those nations, their status, and ability to enjoy stability, security and prosperity. They have all benefited from this historic event. On the other hand they still are parts of the so-called frozen conflicts. In many cases, including in Georgia these conflicts are not frozen, but are unhealed wounds and obstacles that complicate countries’ future development. From our current perspective, we strongly believe that all of the nations that do contribute to the same value system have to have closer ties and ability to build a more predictable and stable future. In this respect, I would say that there is some level of erosion in terms of what we call our joint principles and values.
Let me start from naming couple of current challenges. It is ten years since the Bucharest Summit where Georgia and Ukraine have been given the commitment that they will become NATO members. What happened next in this respect? We see that after the Bucharest Summit, in 2008, Georgia was attacked by the regular military force of the neighboring Russia. I am underlining “the regular military force” because before the 2008, in the 90ies, Georgia was a victim that we later labeled as a hybrid war, little green men literally making the change in the neighborhood. This is something that we, in 2014, witnessed in Ukraine.
In 2008, Georgia was attacked by the Russian militaries and the plan to change the boundaries of my country was put even into the international format, declaring that the occupied parts of Georgia are the so-called independent states. We see that the same action was repeated in six years in Ukraine. In 2014, Russia was more organized, more active and decisive in proceeding its aggressive plans to Ukraine, by annexing Crimea and occupying the Eastern part of Ukraine. By the way, we are talking about the country that in 1994, in Budapest, committed to nuclear disarmament, as a contribution to a more stable future and in the process of this nuclear deal, it is important that Ukraine’s decision on nuclear disarmament was supported by the Russian Federation, UK and USA, signing and committing that they would be the guarantors of Ukrainian territorial integrity and sovereignty. On the 20th anniversary of this very important act, Ukraine was attacked by Russia. We feel that, in some ways, there is a new wave after the Cold War that started in the 90ies and was given a new impulse since the beginning of 2007, that is undermining stability and security of the nations that were committed and are committed to a more stable development which would result in their active engagement in EU and NATO. These are the challenges we currently face.
Eastern flank of NATO is challenged and we are the nations that have to deal with these threats and instability, but as we see this is not the only place where violent confrontation takes place. We see instability and attempts to undermine our way of life and governance happening in other European counties, beside non-EU and non-NATO member states, by interfering with elections, promoting propaganda and creating mechanisms of instability. In this regard, we are very enthusiastic to see new countries and our new allies being more active in joining EU and NATO. We applaud to the progress that Montenegro has made. We are waiting for the fast and robust process from Macedonia which will further stabilize the European process and put the countries like Georgia, Ukraine, and Moldova on a faster track of integration and thus contribute to a more stable Europe and a more stable future of the region.
Let me assure you that when we are looking at this process, we do believe that this goal is achievable and will result in a better perspective not only for my country, but for the entire region because countries like Georgia that have traditionally been contributors to global security and European stability will be able to serve more strategic goals for solving economic, energy, cultural and trade issues that are interlinked to future of the European states.
Having in mind my initial call that we should be all very united on condemning aggression and occupation and being firm on executing the international law and good will standards in interstate relations, as a country that existentially values these principles, I feel that we are all contributing to creating the unity on these values. I feel that more and more countries in Europe and Euro-Atlantic community acknowledge the necessity of being more embracive and being more active in connecting peoples and political leaders for this cause.
Let me reiterate that Georgia, since its independence, has always been walking on this path that we took very seriously. We paid a very serious price for being independent and for taking the choice of Euro-Atlantic direction, but we walk firm in this direction and we will maintain the same attitude. We view the integration process with our allies as a future perspective for countries like Georgia, Ukraine and Moldova. Being more embracive will secure a better perspective for Europe and Euro-Atlantic community,” President Margvelashvili said.
 



 
 
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