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Ex-ambassador of the US to NATO: Macron was strict to Russia after meeting with Georgian President

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Friday, May 10
US former Ambassador to NATO Kurt Volker says that after meeting with Georgia's newly-elected President Salome Zurabishvili back in February 2019, French President Emmanuel Macron strictly demanded Russia to fulfill the 2008 ceasefire deal with Georgia and withdraw its troops from the Georgian territory.

Volker, who currently serves as the US representative to Ukraine, made the statement in Washington DC on May 7, at Georgia and its Neighborhood Conference, co-hosted by the Levan Mikeladze Foundation for Caucasus Studies and the Georgian Association in the USA at the Middle East Institute.

Volker said that due to the current situation in Europe, Western Europe has become frustrated in relations with Russia.

"They tried [the Western European countries] to reach an agreement with Moscow, but they never succeeded, as the Kremlin's behavior makes agreement impossible, he said.

Volker also noted that devaluation of the national currency against the US dollar and turmoil in neighboring countries have a significant impact on Georgia.

"The economic situation in the country is important on the path of NATO integration, he said.

William Courtney, former US Ambassador to Georgia, stated during the same conference that Georgia proved it can focus on a pro-Western foreign policy vector while retaining a pragmatic policy toward Russia.

Russia says that it never signed a peace deal with Georgia after the 2008 Russia-Georgia war.

The Russian Foreign Ministry stated in 2016 that the August 12, 2008 Ceasefire Agreement was a 'mythical' deal that was frequently mentioned by Georgia a country that has 'failed to get used to the new reality' of the existence of two independent states on its 'former territory' (referring to the Abkhazia and Tskhinvali regions, 20 percent of the Georgian territory, currently occupied by Russia).

Tbilisi says that Russia continues to violate the Russia-Georgia Ceasefire Agreement signed through the mediation of France.

The ceasefire agreement reads: no use of force; a definitive halt to hostilities; provision of free access to humanitarian assistance; Georgian military forces must withdraw to the places they are usually stationed; Russian armed forces will pull back to the line where they were stationed before the start of hostilities. While awaiting an international mechanism, Russian peacekeeping forces will implement additional security measures; launching of international discussions on security and stability modalities in Abkhazia and South Ossetia.