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Tinatin Khidasheli Addressed Vilnius Democracy Forum

Friday, September 18
“Our main goal is crystal clear – we want to be a member of family of democratic, stable and peaceful countries,” declared Georgia’s Defence Minister Tinatin Khidasheli in her speech at the “Vilnius Democracy Forum”.

“Our European and democratic choice is threatened by autocratic state. It will be a great mistake to leave our country alone on this path as it will bring destructive outcomes not only for Georgia,” she said. According to Defence Minister, Georgia in not an ideal country but during the last 20 years the state institutions in the country are run under the principles of democratic governance.

David J. Kramer, Senior Director for Human Rights and Democracy, McCain Institute, United States welcomed the remarks of the Defence Minister about Georgia’s NATO membership aspirations: “The conference is focused on the threats caused by Kleptocracies and the biggest one is obviously Russia. There is no hiding the fact that the Putin regime poses an enormous threat to countries along its borders not least of course Georgia, well beyond, including to my country like the United States, by sending dirty money and by assets to buy influence and friends. Kletptoratic regimes are a serious threat to all of us. They are much about us as they are Kleptocracies themselves whether we will import this corruption and become vulnerable. The Minister’s comments were very heartfelt. I very much support her ambitions for Georgia’s aspirations towards NATO. The Minister is absolutely right to continue to push it because she indicated it has been the life saver for the Baltic States and critically will be life saver for Georgia.”

Later, the Defence Minister talked about the importance of such forum discussions and focused on the influence and authority of the participants. “We had wide discussions about the current developments in Ukraine and the comparisons with the war in Georgia in 2008. If they had listened to messages coming from Georgia and Russia attentively, it would have been possible to avoid some of the dangers. The purpose of such conferences is not only the revision and analysis of history. The conclusions made with respect to perspectives are more important. People gathered here have special influence in their own publics; their voice is heard by the population, politicians and decision-makers. That’s why it is very important for the Georgian politicians to find time for dialogue with the public in order to enhance the effectiveness of our messages,” Minister said.

The Vilnius Parliamentary Forum unites current and former Members of Parliament from various countries of the world. Its mission is to provide intensive and active support for the democratization process. Close links among the members assist to joint identification and solution of the problems whereas the efforts of a concrete state might be insufficient. The organization is run by the Governing Council.

With the remarks at the Vilnius Forum Defence Minister concluded her visit in Lithuania and will depart for the United Kingdom to hold official meetings in London.