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We need a more affective Europe - Usupashvili says

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Tuesday, October 8
Georgia is waiting for more principled and active steps from their European partners regarding Russia's current behavior in Georgian occupied regions. Parliament Speaker of Georgia, Davit Usupashvili, made a statement concerning the issue at the international parliamentary conference on October 7, organized by the UNDP. The purpose of the conference was to discuss the country's progress made towards rapprochement with the European Union (EU).

Usupashvili stressed that making statements in the media do not go far enough in defending fundamental democratic values.

"We believe that the democratic world and Europe first of all will assist us in explaining a simple truth to our neighbor," Usupashvili said, adding that there are countries in the 21th century, which believe they can control not only their fate, but other countries' fates as well. This is a violation of fundamental rights and values.

"We hope that democratic Europe, towards which we have launched our path, will carry out more effective measures for protecting fundamental rights of their strategic partners," Usupashvili said.

Usupashvili siad that the "Vilnius Summit has become one of the most significant achievements of Georgia," and is supported by 80% of the Georgian population.

"Georgians have a strong will to become a part of the free peoples' family, to be its full member," the parliamentary chairman emphasized.

Minister of Euro-Atlantic Integration, Aleksi Petriashvili, said that Georgia practically has a "guarantee" regarding the initial agreement.

"The most important is the following period of the Vilnius Summit, we believe that in a framework of one year after the Summit, Georgia will sign an association agreement with the EU," Petriashvili stated. The minister said that "no outer force will disturb the process." He stressed said dialogue with Russia has no alternative.

"It is clear for the world that Georgia has no merit in the ongoing strained situations in the Georgian occupied regions. There are appeals only towards Russia for them to change their attitudes and rhetoric," Petriahsvili stated.

Head of EU representation to Georgia, Philip Dimitrov, believes that "Georgia's tendencies towards Europe are strong and Georgia will overcome all challenges on the way."

He also called the situation ongoing in Ditsi and Dvani villages dramatic at the present moment.

Member of the parliamentary minority, the United National Movement (UNM) Davit Darchiashvili, thinks that Georgia has a chance to initial the association agreement with EU at Vilnius Summit. However, according to Darchiashvili, the opportunity needs to be used.

Darchiashvili believes that fulfilling their "home-work" and addressing the country's political and juridical problems are significant preconditions for signing the initial agreement.

"Georgia should also issue clear statements, without confusing statements regarding the Eurasian Union," Darchiashvili stated.

Representative of Georgian Reforms Associates (GRASS), Elene Khoshtaria, believes that Russia's aggressive actions are aimed at “testing” of the current Georgian government.

“Russia is interested in how much Georgia will oppose them and how much Georgia will be willing to close its eyes on its national interests for the sake of regulating relations with Russia,” Khoshtaria said.