President of Georgia, Salome Zourabichvili gave an exclusive interview to the public broadcaster’s program Free Vision. She discussed many issues with the host Giorgi Gvimradze during the interview that lasted for more than an hour.
President Zourabichvili's interview to public broadcaster
By Natalia Kochiashvili
Thursday, December 26
The President spoke about Georgia's European integration.
"The most important thing for us is not to change this perspective and at the same time to use this time to move into the EU, to reach many other places where we are not yet, to further strengthen our close ties with the EU. Brexit is one such opportunity," she stressed.
The president said that the second issue is for Georgia to put direct demands on the EU. However, she said, there is no talk of the next decade of partnership, as the president thinks the country should not think so far ahead.
“The second is to put our demands directly, and the time when the new leadership will start working in January. We must present our vision for the coming period. I'm not talking about the new decade of partnership, because I don't think we should think about such long terms, we need to know how to complement our relations and move towards the EU in the next one, two or three years,” Zourabichvili told Free Vision.
The president also spoke about the need to speak with Western partners that we need formats similar to Normandy:
“I would say that if possible, there would be a Normandy format where Georgia would be with its partners because we do not have the power to negotiate alone because if the negotiations were to be effective, they would not be in the unequal situation that would be then. We need this support. Why is it that Ukraine is included in this format and not in direct relations,” said Zourabichvili.
She also noted that in the case of Dr. Vazha Gaprindashvili we can see how technical formats are non-dispensable.
“Now we are very well aware of the case of Dr. Vazha Gaprindashvili, how unprofessional these technical formats are. It does not work, because it is clear that the bureaucrats, in this case, do not make the political decisions we expect. We are somewhere in these technical formats that we continue to do, but nothing changes,” she said. Zourabishvili added that from the very first day she demanded to give it a political scale, to get it back, because Geneva was at the political level first, and then it came down to that technical level.
According to her, the second is to work with our partners and the international community to be mentioned at all stages when talking about their various conflicts with Russia.
“We also look at how the world is changing. Everyone talks to everyone, and we are in isolation, we have refused and it is clear that we are not going to reclaim those territories by force, but at the same time, we have not given up, though we do not actually use all our diplomatic tools. At this time we see that a country like Ukraine is ready to use all the means available,” said the president.
She emphasized that neither dialogue nor negotiation means giving up. At the same time, according to the President, the Geneva, Abashidze-Karasin and other formats are needed since there is no other.
The president also answered the question regarding the fact that Russian President Vladimir Putin invited the leaders of the former Soviet republics on May 9, 2020, to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the victory in World War II in Moscow. Gvimradze inquired whether the President was going to discuss the issue with his Ukrainian colleagues.
According to Zourabichvili, she is expected to arrive in Ukraine in the first months of 2020, where this issue will also be discussed. She didn’t answer whether she plans to attend the ceremony or not.
“If any country has the full moral right to celebrate, or rather remember, May 9th, it is probably Georgia, because our contribution and our casualties in this war were enormous, in proportion to all others, proportionately heavy. Therefore, Georgia has nothing to prove in this regard.”
She noted that the position of Ukraine, the US, and other partners, as well as our direct relationship at the time, will be taken into account.
“Having full-fledged statehood requires the borders that should be defined first, and then protected,” the President noted in the case of Georgian monastery David Gareji.
The President spoke of the undefined borders with Azerbaijan and Armenia. As Zourabichvili stated, special commissions were working in this area, they reached a certain point, but the process was terminated.
“It is incomprehensible why we should not conclude this process among our neighboring countries. As the presidents of these countries stated, the commissions should resume working in this field, which, in fact, is happening now, and it has paramount importance,” stated the president, adding that she is expecting tangible results from these processes.