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Georgian PM: Russia never defines our foreign course

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Tuesday, June 18
Georgian Prime Minister Mamuka Bakhtadze has responded to the recent statement of Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gregory Karasin on NATO-Georgia relations by saying that Russia is unable to influence Georgia’s foreign course.

“Georgia is an independent country, and the Kremlin does not set its future”, Bakhtadze told Imedi TV after Karasin mentioned threats for Georgia if it came to close to NATO.

Bakhtadze said that Georgia has never been so close to NATO and the EU as it is no, adding that Georgia will continue “stable and sustainable development” and gradually achieve its Euro-Atlantic goals.

Last week Karasin responded to the statement of the US State Secretary Mike Pompeo regarding the need of Georgia’s accelerated integration into NATO and said that such a possibility will “catastrophically affect” the Russia-Georgia relations.

Karasin also disliked Pompeo’s advice on Georgia’s strategically important Anaklia deep-sea post, which is scheduled to be constructed in western Georgia next year, to build the port which “will help Georgia avoid the Russian and Chinese economic influence.”

“What has been said towards Russia and China is not the tone we like,” Karasin told the Radio Liberty/Free Europe.

He said that some people believe NATO might protect Georgia “during certain activities that are directed against Russia.”

“And they are preparing for NATO’s December Summit. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has openly stated that Georgia’s NATO membership should be accelerated. We believe, this will have a catastrophic effect on our relationship,“ Karasin said.

Georgia’s Special Envoy to Russia Zurab Abashidze stated that “it is the sovereign right of Georgia to decide whom and how to cooperate.”

As of now, Georgia is one of the most important NATO contributors for international peace with 885 soldiers.

The country’s goal towards NATO, for now, is to get the Membership Action Plan (MAP), a necessary procedure before integration into the alliance.

Georgian Prime Minister met with Pompeo in Washington last week, where both stated that the US-Georgia relations are at an all-time high.