PM Gharibashvili speaks at Atlantic Council
By Ana Robakidze
Thursday, February 27
Georgia’s Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili addressed the Atlantic Council in Washington and called on the NATO member countries to grant Georgia the Membership Action Plan (MAP) at the upcoming summit in September 2014.
Gharibashvili believes Georgia deserves MAP, as the country has progressed a lot and is ready to continue its process of comprehensive reforms.
“The upcoming NATO Summit in the UK is the best opportunity to adequately reflect the progress made. It is essential to move forward and the realistic way to do it is to grant Georgia the Membership Action Plan. It (MAP) is the single integration mechanism that provides a concrete framework for the implementation of the Bucharest Summit decision that Georgia should become a member of NATO,” the PM said.
PM Gharibashvili also spoke about integration with the European Union and stressed how important EU membership is for Georgia. PM said that the Eastern Partnership countries are under great pressure. Therefore, the EU has to display its clear support to the partner countries and make it clear that no third party can influence the choice of sovereign states.
“With the current dramatic events in Ukraine, it is becoming increasingly obvious that certain foreign pressure plays a destructive role not only for regional stability but also (for) the very existence of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of our nations – Georgia, Ukraine, and Moldova…It is obvious that unless the European Union gives a clear promise of membership to the successful countries of the Eastern Partnership, a crisis similar to Ukraine will happen again and again,” he said.
Gharibashvili expressed his hope that Georgia will receive its fair share of support and appreciation for progress it has made despite harsh foreign pressure. Georgia is going to sign the Association Agreement within the next few months and the PM fears Russia will increase its political pressure on Georgia.
According to Gharibashvili Georgia will continue with the comprehensive reforms and will do everything possible to withstand any possible pressure. However, the country will need a great international support.
“We are calling for your support not because we are internally divided or unsure about our aspirations. We call on our Western friends to help us to withstand foreign pressures that threaten to reverse the gains that the free world made in our region,” he said.
On February 25th Gharibashvili had meetings with Senator John McCain and Executive Director of the Millennium Challenge Corporation, Daniel Johanne. The PM also attended a working dinner held by the National Democratic Institute (NDI).