National Security Council focuses on breakaway regions

After the meeting, the President Margvelashvili and Prime Minister Garibahsvili made a joint appearance before journalists., 29 Oct 2014 - 12:51, Tbilisi,Georgia

A question mark is hanging over the Abkhazians and South Ossetians’ perspective as ethnic groups without unification with Georgia, President Giorgi Margvelashvili says after yesterday’s National Security Council (NSC) meeting.

The President convened the NSC to discuss the Kremlin-proposed ‘Alliance and Integration’ treaty with Abkhazia, which Tbilisi condemned as an "attempt to annex” the breakaway region.

Yesterday’s discussion focused on how Georgia should respond to a "very difficult situation” involving Moscow’s intention to sign a new treaty with Sokhumi, Margvelashvili said.

After the meeting, the President and Prime Minister Irakli Garibahsvili made a joint appearance before journalists.

"We have discussed our actions, analysed threats that Georgia faces and steps that will be taken by the Government, the President and the Parliament in coordination with each other,” Margvelashvili said.

The PM said there were no issues the Cabinet and the President could not agree on.

"We had a very good discussion and agreed to continue coordinated work. We demonstrated today that we are capable of working together,” Garibashvili said.

In his TV interview summing up the NSC meeting late last evening, the President said Georgia was the country "within which they [Abkhazians and South Ossetians] had the prospect of a European future, an opportunity to build a democratic community, and a possibility to highlight their identity”.

"The starting point must be one thing – we, Georgians want and believe in a single, European, modern state-building, where Abkhaz and Ossetian people can travel to Europe without visas,” the President said, adding further details were to be elaborated.

Earlier, PM Garibashvili offered a "broad autonomy” within the "united, sovereign and independent Georgia” to the people living in Abkhazia and Tskhinvali region (so called "South Ossetia”).

State Minister for Reconciliation and Civic Equality Paata Zakareishvili said after the NSC meeting it was not yet specified what kind of autonomy was offered.

"There are many forms of autonomy in Europe,” he said.

"In this case, we are not talking about one particular form. The PM’s main message is that we [Georgia and its two breakaway regions] should discuss these forms and choose one together.”

Defence Minister Irakli Alasania, Interior Minister Alexander Tchikaidze and Finance Minister Nodar Khaduri, who were among permanent members of the NSC, were absent from the meeting as they were not in Georgia yesterday.

Photo by President's press office

Together the President, PM and State Minister for Reconciliation and Civic Equality Paata Zakareishvili, State Minister for Euro-Atlantic and European Integration Alexi Petriashvili, Foreign Minister Maia Panjikidze, NSC Secretary Irina Imerlishvili, as well as Georgian Dream lawmakers Tedo Japaridze, chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee; Irakli Sesiashvili, chairman of the Defence and Security Committee, and Victor Dolidze, chairman of the European Integration Committee, also participated in the NSC session.

Foreign Minister Panjikidze briefed the NSC about the Georgia’s efforts to "consolidate” the international community amid challenges and threats posed by the Russia-proposed new treaty with Abkhazia.