Prime Minister Kvirikashvili discusses regional cooperation in Munich

Kvirikashvili took part in the discussion alongside with the Presidents of Azerbaijan and Estonia. Photo: PM’s press office., 19 Feb 2017 - 12:06, Tbilisi,Georgia

Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili spoke at the panel discussion ‘The Fault Lines of Eurasia’ at the 53rd Munich Security Conference yesterday.

Kvirikashvili stated that Georgia is a country striving to be a member of the European family and the Euro-Atlantic community, and a country building a stable future despite all challenges.

"Georgia's territorial integrity has been violated and two of our historic territories are occupied by Russia, but even against this backdrop, we try to stay consistent, first of all, with our foreign policy goals, and to prepare the ground for a long-term solution to our problems”, Kvirikashvili said.

He named several achievements Georgia has reached in recent years:

  • Signing the Association Agreement with the European Union;
  • Increasing integration with NATO structures;
  • Being part of peacekeeping operations in Afghanistan and the Central African Republic;
  • Latest rankings placing Georgia on top of economic freedom and doing business lists.
"We are participating in Central Africa peacekeeping operations with the EU. We are gradually becoming part of the European order. This is not an exaggeration because Georgia is building a country with systems closely in line with European standards”, he said.

In his speech the Prime Minister also addressed regional cooperation as a vital tool for ensuring stability in the South Caucasus.

The Prime Minister indicated that regional projects linking Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Turkey through the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway project is one of the examples of such cooperation. According to him, this initiative creates new opportunities arising from the Silk Road's ‘One Belt-One Road initiative linking Europe and Asia.

You can listen to the PM's full speech below. 

Kvirikashvili briefly talked about ongoing reforms in Georgia and said that his team sets governance reform as one of the highest priorities, taking experience from Estonia's on e-governance, unified front office and one stop solution concept.

During the discussion Kvirikashvili also addressed Georgian relations with Russia. The Prime Minister recalled the August War of 2008 that resulted in the occupation of one-fifth of Georgian territory.

"The cornerstone principle for bringing stability not in our region but throughout the continent is territorial integrity and revising the borders of countries is extremely dangerous. So we are in a situation now when we have fences on our territories, ethnic Georgians are captured almost every day for casually crossing the so called "borders", where ethnic Georgians are deprived of the right of acquiring an education in their mother-tongue”, Kvirikashvili said.
"Despite our very constructive and consistent approach and steps, especially starting from 2012, we have seen some progress in the economic spheres, but we have had absolutely no progress in political dimensions”, he said.

Kvirikashvili touched upon relations with NATO as well and said that NATO membership is not something that the nation is preoccupied by, but this is a family of countries with certain values and principles where Georgia feels it belongs.

Kvirikashvili took part in the discussion alongside with the Presidents of Azerbaijan and Estonia.