Prime Minister of Georgia Mamuka Bakhtadze participated in a panel discussion devoted to security issues in Eastern Europe at the Munich Security Conference last night.
He emphasised the negative impact of Russian aggression towards Georgia and Ukraine on the security and peace in the region.
Some of the experts claimed today that this is a threat to Eastern Europe. Let me disagree with this opinion and say that this is a threat to the whole Euro-Atlantic world. I think that there will not be a stable security in Europe unless it is not strong and tangible in the Black Sea region. We should join our efforts and consolidate the initiatives of those nations which believe in freedom and democracy,” PM Bakhtadze said.
He spoke about painful challenges which Georgia is facing and emphasised that despite them the country has a big success story.
Russia continues occupying 20 percent of our territories but we are a strong nation. I always try to underline that becoming a member of the EU and NATO is not only a political decision but a choice which is bases on national values. 80 percent of Georgian population supports the idea of EU-NATO membership. This is a national choice and we try to deliver this message to our good friends in the West,” Bakhtadze added.
Discussed security challenges our countries face at #MSC2019 panel discussion "Security in Eastern Europe". #Georgia believes that #security in the Black Sea Region is the main precondition for Europes sustainable security architecture pic.twitter.com/pcBg6LvmKf— Mamuka Bakhtadze (@BakhtadzeMamuka) February 16, 2019
In this regard he also spoke about the strategic partnership with the US and emphasised that under the President Trump's administration bilateral relations are at a highest level.
This is very clear and the message is also very strong. I found the policy and strategy of the current administration ideally answers the challenges we are facing in the region. Herewith I want to mention one important point. The terms ‘Hybrid war’ and ‘frozen conflict’ are brcoming popular in the world now but we have the first one beginning from 90s. As for the ‘'frozen conflict’, not having a military confrontation does not necessarily mean that there is a peace in the country. Russia continues to make steps against Georgia and we are witnessing the so called borderization. Human rights are being violated almost weekly - our citizens are being kidnapped and tortured to death,” PM Bakhtadze told the attendees of the panel discussion.
He also spoke about the government's peace initiative - A Step to a Better Future - which seeks to create new opportunities for people living in the Russian occupied territories.
Before war, until the occupation of Tskhinvali region 120,000 people were living there. Now this number is below 20,000 meaning six times less. We have a humanitarian catastrophe there and when I speak about consolidation of efforts I mean consolidation around these peace initiatives and programs as well. The major goal of this is to create strong security in the Black Sea region which is a prerequisite for strong security of Europe,” Bakhtadze added.
He also emphasised Georgia's potential of becoming a regional hub which will promote increase of trade turnover between China and Europe. He said there is a huge opportunity in this regard not only for Georgia but for entire region.