President: Rational dialogue with Russia is possible

President Margvelashvili on an interview with RFW/RL in Prague. Photo by Koba Liklikadze, 26 Apr 2014 - 15:39, Tbilisi,Georgia

Georgian President Giorgi Margvelashvili has "hope and ambition for rational dialogue with Russia”.

He shared this opinion in an interview with Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) yesterday.

During his official visit to Prague to attend the Summit dedicated to the Fifth Anniversary of the Eastern Partnership, Margvelashvili visited the RFE/RL's Georgian Service and discussed Georgia-Russian relations.

When asked what the main massage of the President or Prime Minister would be if he met Russian President Vladimir Putin, Margvelashvili said he hoped Russia would understand that an independent and sovereign Georgia "does not pose any threat to Russia’s vital interests.”

"I believe - and this is why I have hope and ambition for rational dialogue - that as soon as we start communicating on the basis of rationality, it will become crystal clear that Georgia does not pose any threat to Russia's vital interests," he said.

"[I believe] that a territorially intact, calm, strong, and protected Georgia is only beneficial for Russia, not for its vital interests, but for good neighborly interests."

Margvelashvili then spoke about the sanctions that Russia could impose on Georgia, and said Russia did not have the power to destroy Georgia’s economy. On the contrary, Russia would have problems within its economy, he said.

"When it comes to Georgia, when we calculate Russia's influence and abilities, we can talk about the newly opened format, the import of [Georgian] wines and mineral water [to Russia]. Now this is not going to destroy our economy," he said.

"I believe Russia has very serious economic needs. Its economy needs to be modernized. I say this [exclusively] to you; there is no way I am going to preach anything to anyone. As well as demographic problems. These are Russia's vital problems."

Margvelashvili said he believed Russia posed no immediate threat to Georgia.

"I said I do not perceive an immediate danger [from Russia]. Immediate danger means that in the near future, today or tomorrow, some very strong steps will be taken against our country. For this, Russia had resources in Ukraine. In order to influence Ukraine’s choices. The resources included the business sector and the fact that Ukrainian society was not unified in its European choice."

The Georgian President criticized those in his country who wanted to take a harder line with Russia.

"No matter how unacceptable this might seem to political forces in our country who believe that with very loud, aggressive statements [and] hysterical talk, someone can be persuaded of something. I believe we will be able to achieve rational dialogue [with Russia], albeit with difficulty," he said.