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Georgia’s foreign policy priorities remain bone of contention

By Messenger Staff
Thursday, February 14
Georgia’s current and former leadership both claim that maintaining a Western orientation is a priority in Georgia’s foreign policy. However, the United National Movement (UNM) demands that they tie this issue to the state’s constitution, whereas the Georgian Dream believes that the adoption of an inter-faction agreement should be enough.

The UNM uses this issue as a bargaining chip. In exchange for their support of the majority’s wish to restrict the president’s powers, it wants the foreign policy issue to be written into Georgia’s constitution.

On February 6 the parliamentary minority submitted a document regarding the country’s foreign relations. The proposed draft bill envisages that Georgia will continue its move towards participation and eventual membership in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), as well as continue its push towards the EU. This draft also stipulates that Georgia will never become a member of organizations where the Russian Federation is a dominant force– for example the CIS. The document also mentions Georgia’s unchanged position over the non-recognition of the breakaway regions and stipulates that Georgia will do everything to de-occupy the territories.

As a response to this demand, the parliamentary majority suggested that the minority adopt an inter-factional agreement. The Georgian Dream coalition insists that Georgia’s Western orientation could be placed in the preamble of the state constitution. The minority says that Georgia’s Western orientation is the country’s historical choice and it would be no problem to tie this approach into the constitution.

Currently Parliamentary Chairman Davit Usupashvili, as well as Minister of Foreign Affairs Maia Panjikidze, is tirelessly developing the concept of Georgia’s Western orientation. This issue is more or less agreeable. However, the UNM demands mentioning NATO and refusal to join any kind of organization dominated by Georgia’s northern neighbor.

The question of whether the country’s foreign policy orientation should be reflected in the state constitution was asked to the European Commissioner on Enlargement and European Neighborhood Policy Stefan Fule. Fule said this is an issue that should be solved by politicians and people belonging to the country in question. However, he mentioned that there are some countries who have emphasized their European choice in the constitutions while the real situation is different in their countries.

It looks like the debates on this issue will continue until some kind of agreement is achieved.