Georgian President ready to talk to Russian leader

Giorgi Margvelashvili: Georgia feels less secure after Russian move in Ukraine., 17 Apr 2014 - 12:42, Tbilisi,Georgia

Georgia’s insecurities have been heightened following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine but Georgia will continue along the path to European integration – the same path that Ukraine was on until a devastating crisis unleashed there.

The country is preparing to sign the Association Agreement (AA) and strengthening ties with the European Union (EU), and at the same time, improve Georgia’s relationship with Russia.

Georgia’s President Giorgi Margvelashvili spoke about his country’s challenges in an interview with Reuters earlier this week. He said he was ready to meet with Russian officials to find a solution to current issues plaguing the countries.

"We don't feel secure because some of the basic ways nations communicate with each other has been put under question," Margvelashvili said.

"Georgia, which experienced very harsh Russian foreign policy moves six years ago, and which is still in a very complicated relationship with the Russian Federation, is naturally very alarmed because of the Ukrainian precedent," he claimed.

Margvelashvili expressed his expectations following a NATO Summit in September to have the response that "all the attempts that the Georgian Government and people of Georgia ... have made for integration into NATO”.

"We are a small country with limited military resources but we have shown that we are a credible partner when it comes to international security," the Georgian President said.

The Reuters article stated Georgia had "strategic importance” because it was on the route of various pipelines which carried oil and gas from the landlocked Caspian Sea - seen by many countries as an alternative to Russian energy - to world markets.

In the interview, Margvelashvili also said the world should try to rein in Russia's intervention in Ukraine by using "a calm and rational approach".

A similar approach would allow Georgia to improve relations with Russia, he said.

"The Ukrainian case has added more negative aspects to our dialogue with Russia than positive but our policy remains firm and it's very consistent," Margvelashvili said.

"Our attempt to draw our relations into a dialogue is not yet very successful, but we believe that it has potential."

He said he was ready to hold talks with any Russian representatives, including President Vladimir Putin, to find a solution to issues facing the two countries.