TBILISI, DFWatch–‘A magical recipe for Georgia’s NATO integration without offending Russia is Georgia becoming an interesting country,’ says Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili.
He said this Monday as he attended the 83rd Rose Roth Seminar of NATO’s Parliamentary Assembly, which was held at Courtyard Marriott Hotel in Tbilisi.
After Ivanishvili’s government came to power, opponents have criticized the new government and accused it of being pro-Russian, and they fear this will create difficulties on the way to Euro-Atlantic integration. The PM has therefore been accustomed to having to answer questions about this every time he meets the media.
Today he said that establishing final relations with Russia cannot be done quickly.
“We have gone through the first level, and that is establishing cultural relations,” he said, adding that the coalition doesn’t have illusions that territorial integrity will be restored soon. “But I assure you that it won’t take a few decades either.”
He said the country should become more interesting. The population should be employed, refugees should return to their own houses.
The PM said that soon the right time will come to make a certain step ‘which will remove all the ambiguity on the way to NATO integration.’
“We are realists and we understand well that NATO integration is a step-by-step process and Georgia is ready to continue this way,” the PM said. He drew attention to what NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said in September, 2012: that Georgia’s future home is in NATO.
The PM also spoke about relations with Russia. He said that a dialog between Tbilisi and Moscow shouldn’t create a sense that Georgia is independently solving relations with Russia and no longer needs the support of its partners. He said the new government added ‘a new component’ to the foreign policy and reminded people about steps taken in this regard, when he appointed a special representative for relations with Russia, talks about reopening market relations with Russia, economic and cultural connections.
“But I also want to underline that the Geneva talks are the only format for holding negotiations with Russia about conflict and we will remain committed to this process.”
He said the Georgian government believes that Euro and Euro-Atlantic integration will give Georgia more opportunities to build democratic institutions, provide freedom and security.