President Margvelashvili discusses online freedom in Tallinn

Georgia’s President during his speech at Freedom Online Coalition conference in Tallinn. Photo by President’s Press Office., 28 Apr 2014 - 15:38, Tbilisi,Georgia

Georgia’s President believes the 2008 Russia-Georgia war was a blatant military intervention by Russian troops but also a cyber-attack on Georgia.

In a welcoming speech at the 4th annual conference of the Freedom Online Coalition in Tallinn today, Giorgi Margvelashvili spoke about Georgia’s safety, identity and defensive capacity when the country was at war with Russia.

"That [Russia-Georgia] war was physical and real but at the same time the war was actively going on over the internet,” Margvelashvili said. 

"We faced the reality that we were less safe, less aware of these dangers, because the scope of our identity, our essence, which was very important for us, had become very fragile. It had become another thing of aggression.”

He said a telecommunication service offered by Google which had named Abkhazia - one of Georgia’s breakaway regions - on the list of countries its users can contact was one of the problematic topics Georgia has been focusing on lately.

"As a result of the 2008 conflict, Georgia lost 20 percent of its territory and about 500 000 people had to leave the region. At present, when we search Abkhazia in Google it is presented as an independent state, which in reality is a part of our occupied territories,” he said.

Margvelashvili believed they had to define where "was the border between freedom and the realization of these rights without violating the rights of others”.

He called the international experts to share their experience on how to solve these issues and "live in a better world with more communication and together overcoming obstacles along the way”.

He also highlighted Georgia was eager to continue with his partners in human rights protection.

The Freedom Online Coalition unites 22 governments with a broad scope of partners from the private and NGO sectors.

Later today, Margvelashvili met his Estonian counterpart Toomas Hendrik Ilves.

The parties discussed the bilateral relations, the international situation, Georgia's integration into the EU and NATO, the President of Georgia’s Press Office reported.

The President believed Estonia was a strong partner for Georgia as it supported the country’s EU and NATO integration. He said it was essential to further deepen the cooperation with official Tallinn.

The two presidents talked about the early plans to sign a political association agreement with the 28-nation European Union in June to boost ties and get a free-trade deal and visa-free travel.