PRIME MINISTER OF GEORGIA TAKES PART IN MSC2019 PANEL DISCUSSION ON SECURITY IN EASTERN EUROPE Print Version

2019-02-17

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"Aggression towards Georgia in 2008 and later Ukraine has entirely undermined peace and security" stated Mamuka Bakhtadze, Prime Minister of Georgia at a Panel Discussion on Security in Eastern Europe held within the scope of the 55th Munich Security Conference (MSC2019) today.

In the opinion of the Head of Government of Georgia, Black Sea region is turning into a greater priority for the European Union (EU) and North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and it is a significant step made forward.

"Aggression towards Georgia in 2008 and later Ukraine has entirely undermined peace and security. Some experts were saying today that it is a threat towards Eastern Europe. Allow me to disagree with this opinion, as this threat challenges the entire Euro-Atlantic community. It is a big danger. My position is this: unless we have tangible and strong security in the Black Sea region, it will not be sustainable for Europe either. We should unite our efforts. We should consolidate initiatives of those nations that believe in peace and democracy" stated the Prime Minister of Georgia.

Head of Government of Georgia spoke about the painful challenges faced by the country and noted that irrespective of all these calamities, Georgia is a big success story.

"Russia continues to occupy 20 percent of our territory, however we are a resilient nation. I always try to stress that our membership to EU and NATO is not only a political choice. It is a civilization choice; a value-based choice. According to the recent social opinion poll, 80% of our population supports accession to EU and NATO. We have a great support from our citizens. Why? Because it is not only a political choice. It is a civilization choice of my nation and we try to convey this message to our good friends in the West" added the Prime Minister of Georgia.

Head of Government of Georgia underlined the strategic partnership with USA in his speech and referred to the strong bipartisan support, which Georgia enjoys from its strategic partner, while relations between the two countries are at the highest ever existing level under the Administration of President Trump.

"It is very clear. Message is strong. I believe that policy and strategy crafted under the current Administration fits perfectly with challenges faced by us in the region. I wish to mention one fact here. Terms like Frozen Conflict and Hybrid War are becoming popular nowadays. Hybrid war has been waged against Georgia since early 90's. As for the frozen conflict, absence of a direct military combat does not mean that peace exists in a country. Russia continues to make aggressive steps towards Georgia. We are observing a so called borderization process. Basic human rights are breached almost every week: our citizens are kidnapped and tortured to death" noted the Prime Minister of Georgia.

Head of Government of Georgia focused on the security of the Black Sea region and noted that it also means security of the entire Europe and trans-Atlantic space.

"As for the diplomacy, we dedicate full attention and have conceptualized responsibility towards a peaceful resolution of the conflict, however the main problem is that Russia tries its best to undermine the philosophy of a rules-based international system. We signed a Ceasefire Agreement in 2008 and Russia was obliged to withdraw its troops from Georgia. Over 10 years have passed since then and no result has been achieved. There is no progress. It continues to occupy our territories. If it continues in the same manner within the Black Sea region, it will create more threat to the Euro-Atlantic space. I believe that it is clear to all" added the Prime Minister of Georgia.

Head of Government of Georgia also spoke about a peace initiative of the Government of Georgia branded as a Step Towards Better Future.

"We are trying to create new opportunities within it for people still living in occupied territories. There were 120 000 people in Tskhinvali region before its occupation. Local population now includes only 20 000 people, i.e. 6 times less! We have a humanitarian disaster there. When I talk about consolidation, I mean our consolidation around such peace initiatives and programs. Of course, main idea behind all this is to create a very strong security in the Black Sea region, which also means stronger security for Europe" added the Prime Minister of the country and noted that Georgian people believe in stronger NATO and EU.

"Last year NATO officially stated that Georgia will eventually become a member of NATO and we are gonna do it!" added the Prime Minister of Georgia.

Head of Government of Georgia also referred to Georgia in the context of international logistics and noted that it is a gateway for 6 land-locked countries to the rest of the world.

"Georgia has its merit in the context of international logistics. We are part of One Belt and Road Initiative. Free Trade Agreement (FTA) has been concluded with China and it is already one of our largest trade partners. We also observe that trade is growing between Turkey and China, EU and China. Thus, if we look at a map, we can see that Georgia is a natural candidate for becoming a regional hub and bridge to facilitate the growing international trade between EU and China. We see only very good opportunities in it and not only for Georgia, but entire region" concluded the Prime Minister of Georgia.

Panel Discussion held within the scope of the 55th Munich Security Conference (MSC2019) moderated by Ian Bremmer, President of the Eurasia Group, also involved Petro Poroshenko, President of Ukraine; Andrej Plenkovic, Prime Minister of Croatia and Thomas Greminger, Secretary General of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE).

Prime Minister's Press Office