President Zurabisvili : We need bold steps from European Union too to support us

We need bold steps from European Union too to support us, President of Georgia Salome Zurabishvili said giving an opening speech at the annual Valdas Adamkus Conference in Vilnius.

‘That is maybe less important than becoming truly, completely Europeans. Most important for us today is to move down the road, to mark progress, to avoid paralysis that would fuel disillusion. And that means that we need bold steps from European Union too to support us. To support us really financially in what is now the most difficult part of the reforms that we are entering in, to support us politically including in the recent questions of borderization and our relations with this difficult neighbor that is occupying our territories. Supporting us in continuing to have with us very direct relations and not thinking about suppressing the ENP Commissar, as some now voices are now considering,” President Zurabishvili said.

She said that it’s not a coincidence that August 23, together with the Baltic Way celebration, is the Day of Remembrance for the victims of all totalitarian regimes.

“Totalitarianism was born on European soil and it happened when Europe closed inwards, when it forgot its values, when it renounced its principles, when it was dictated by hate, by divisions, by discrimination; but, totalitarianism was defeated in the end by the European construction. Today clearly, its policy of illegal borderization, occupation of territories, defying territorial integrity, restricting freedom of movement of individuals, families, dividing villages, puts Russia in clear contradiction with the principles that found international relations, and even more so European relations: respect of international law, respect of individual rights, freedom of movement…. We need the support of our partners, of our Lithuanian and Baltic friends, to reactivate negotiating formats, to give them real political signification; we cannot just satisfy ourselves with saying we go to Geneva, talk a little bit and come back, and nothing has change. We need the support our partners to get more active involvement of the international organizations. We need the support of our partners to overcome the conflicts and the occupation, and not only to be looking at this borderization from close or from faraway - that does not change the situation. We have to put an end to an intolerable status quo that is neither acceptable and the frustration that we have seen on the streets of Tbilisi on June 20 is the result of the spontaneous frustration that happens in a population, that sees no change on the ground, no change in an unacceptable situation. Neither is it conductive to long-term stability, nor in the end benefiting anyone – not even Russia. We need Europe and European leaders to convince Russia to renounce the use of force or threats, adhere to its former commitments and play by the rules, not only in Georgia but with all its neighbors – Ukraine being one very important neighbor,” President Zurabishvili said.

She underlined that being part of a whole and free Europe means for Georgia to be part of Europe as a reunified nation and not as a divided one and being part of a free and peaceful Europe means for Georgia to overcome, to solve the conflicts that belong clearly to the past.

“More Europe in Georgia and the Caucasus means importing the European recipes for a long lasting peace. For that aim to be reached, we need your support, your unity, your commitment to freedom, your determination to find solutions in line with our common European values. We need internal consensus, and I hope very much that one very close day, we can say that not only the Baltic way is the right way for the future but Georgia’s way, Caucasus way is also the right way for the future and for Europe’s future, the President said.

Matthew Bryza  : That’s a big problem, the US President usually is not listening to his most senior advisers saying “pay attention to Georgia”