President’s annual address touches on Russian occupation, EU and NATO

In his address President Giorgi Margvelashvili assessed the country’s achievements of the past year, the challenges it faced and his vision for the future. Photo by President's press office, 07 Apr 2017 - 14:17, Tbilisi,Georgia

Georgia's President Giorgi Margvelashvili delivered his annual address to the nation today where he described the country’s anti-annexation policy for the Russian occupied regions of Abkhazia and Tskhinvali (South Ossetia) with members of parliament.

I hope the time will come when artificially erected walls will break down in Georgia”, Margvelashvili said.

Margvelashvili said non-recognition policy of Georgia’s breakaway Abkhazia and Tskhinvali is an example of successful cooperation with partners.

He further noted that in response to Russian Federation’s factual annexation of Georgian territory, Georgia should think of ways of impeding further annexation with the support of partner countries.

President Margvelashvili condemned the barbed-wire fences along the breakaway regions separating Abkhazia and Tskhinvali from the rest of Georgia, restriction of Georgian language classes in the schools in Gali region in Abkhazia, kidnapping and detention along the crossing-points.

In his speech Margvelashvili addressed people living in the occupied regions and said that the time will come when people living in Abkhazia, Tskhinvali and the rest of Georgia will be united again and internally displaced people will safely return to their homes.

Russia recognised Tskhinvali region and the other Georgian breakaway region of Abkhazia as independent countries after a military armed conflict with Georgia in 2008.

As of today, only four countries recognise Georgia’s breakaway regions as independent republics; these are Russia, Nicaragua, Venezuela and Nauru.

Georgia’s interest in joining the EU and NATO

Georgia’s cooperation with the European Union and NATO were among the main foreign policy issues of President Margvelashvili’s speech.

Welcoming visa-free travel for Georgian citizens to the EU’s Schengen Area, Margvelashvili said Georgia’s current goal is to return to the European family and become an EU member with strong democracy, stable institutions, human rights protection, rule of law, economic development and a European legal system.

Margvelashvili asked the country’s foreign partners to raise their voices on Georgia’s behalf at the upcoming NATO Summit this May in Brussels, Belgium, which will be attended only by NATO member states.

He said, the format of the summit does not consider Georgia’s presence as a non-NATO member state, however, he said Georgia’s integration with the NATO remains a priority. He said Georgia is also participating in the strategic Black Sea security dialogue.

The security of the Black Sea starts from Georgia. A secure Black Sea is a precondition of economic cooperation and long-term peace in the region. This is why Georgia should be actively engaged in the construction of the Black Sea security architecture”, President Margvelashvili said.

Margvelashvili said the more projects will be carried out with Europe and Asia, the better for the country. He said Georgia should use all its international formats with partner states including the United States, to support its European and Euro-Atlantic integration.

President Margvelashvili delivered his annual address about the state of the nation to lawmakers in Parliament of Georgia. His speech lasted about an hour and covered a number of issues of state importance.

In his address Margvelashvili assessed the country’s achievements of the past year, the challenges it faces and his vision for the future.