Under Reconstruction

Official web site of the President of Georgia

Press Office   News   President Zourabichvili Participates in Open Discussion Panel at the Lennart Meri Conference

President Zourabichvili Participates in Open Discussion Panel at the Lennart Meri Conference

President Salome Zourabichvili participated in an open discussion panel at the Lennart Meri Conference together the President of Estonia and the Federal Minister of Defense of Germany, Ursula von der Leyen.
The conference carries the name of the famous Estonian writer, film director, and statesman Lennart Meri, who served as President of Estonia from 1992 to 2001.
The Minister of Defense of Estonia, Jüri Luik, moderated an open discussion panel, “One Past, Many Futures.”
The President of Georgia started to address the audience at the international conference by paying tribute to former president Lennart Meri, noting that European and world politics miss people like him.
President Zourabichvili touched upon the issue of Russian agression, occupation, irreversibility of Georgia’s path toward European integration, and Black Sea security.
President Zourabichvili stated that Georgia considers its past as completely European and recognizes itself as an old Christian country, and sometimes considers itself the oldest European nation. It marked and still marks today's existence and, in some cases, our behaviors. Nevertheless, as President Zourabichvili stated, Georgia is in the middle of huge uncertainties and the future therefore might look very bleak.
“European Union has its own uncertainties, it is not very clear of where the future lies what form of future, with whom, up to what point, enlargement or not enlargement, somebody leaving, somebody coming in. And, what will be its relations with the big powers. Today around, the European Union looks very isolated with Russia that is trying to divide by force, China which is trying to divide by buying one after the other. It does not look and sometimes some incomprehension with the main partners and allies – the United States. So, it does not look very clear what direction is the future of Europe.
Now, if we look at Georgia, it is even fuller of uncertainties. Starting with war, the fact that we have two occupied territories, 20% of our territory. The occupying line is just right, outside of our houses, 30 kilometers or more from the capital city.
A Russia that does not look at all like having changed its attitude or ready to change its attitude, on the contrary, it’s moving from aggression to provocation, from provocation to aggression, moving the occupying line, multiplying the military bases, practicing the policy of Russification that reminds us the 19th century, the worse period of the Russification of the Russian Empire. 
And, all of that does not look very promising, it is also starting to threaten when we have NATO military exercises on our territories. And, we don’t know what we going to do, we have already seen what they are able to do some time. So, that is quite uncertain as a future. The environment beyond and beside the Russian neighbor is not very clear either, we are living in a region that is still on the other shore of the Black Sea, a Black Sea that itself has now developed some pockets of insecurity and is also sought to become as sea of communication, but that’s not yet and could be endangered by this insecurity that Russia is trying to spread there.
And, we are also very close to other regions of the Middle East that are not very clear to us as to their future.
We have Turkey that is no longer on a clear track and perspective to try to join the European Union and we don’t know what path it will choose, hesitating to get even closer to Russia…
And, we are still in the process of developing, trying to strengthen our democracy, our economy, our links with the European Union, so that is not very clear either. So, that would seem very bleak. For us it is very clear that if we imagine a world in which we suddenly were to lose the European perspective, the NATO solidarity perspective, if those two forces were to somehow weaken or evaporate, we would be very lonely, very isolated, and without perspective or future.
And, I think that the same is true of Europe. During this face when we seem to see some populist movement, and some skepticism and some cynicism, and some doubts and questions.  If the European public opinions were going to stop a little bit and just think what it would be that there is no European Union, there is no NATO, I think that would start reflecting and the reflection would be very interesting for everyone because I think it would be a very gloomy world.
So, contrary to the title of your panel, I think that we have no other future. We have one common future that is our only alternative, our only perspective that is something we are very clear about. We have 85% of our population that firmly believes and that has not changed and will not change because there is no other perspective. So, we are what you need most. We are the small enthusiasts outside of your borders ready to move in,” was stated by President Zourabichvili.
On behalf of the European Union, I am very shameful personally, that we could not grant European perspective to Georgia, but this perspective is very clear for us,” was admitted by the Minister of Defense of Estonia, Jüri Luik.
The Federal Minister of Defense of Germany, Ursula von der Leyen highlighted the strong and rich military cooperation between our countries.
“It is a great honor for us to jointly participate in Afghanistan together with almost 600 Georgian military servants, it would be impossible to be in NATO Resolute Support Mission without them. While you are there, sharing and driving the common values, feel shared roots, culture, enthusiasm, knowledge and the common vision for whom we are presented and defended this values and peace,” noted Ursula von der Leyen.
The participants of the conference discussed the security matters regarding the perspectives of North and Western Europe over several days.
The conference brings together European officials, leaders from the United States of America, European ministers, Members of Parliament, and representatives of international organizations and media.

Add to Twitter Add to Facebook