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Choice is free – says the President

By Mariam Chanishvili
Thursday, September 8
The President of Georgia, Giorgi Margvelashvili, participated in an international conference in Tbilisi, entitled “Europe's Changing Geostrategic Landscape after the Warsaw Summit.”

The Economic Policy Research Center (EPRC) and the McCain Institute for International Leadership hosted the conference on September 6.

In the frames of the conference, the president and executive director of the McCain Institute, the former United States Permanent Representative to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), Kurt Volker held a discussion, at the end of which Margvelashvili answered the questions from the audience.

Margvelashvili talked about the region’s European and Euro-Atlantic integration, NATO’s Warsaw Summit results, the threats of Russia’s foreign policy. He also highlighted the development of democracy in Georgia and talked about this year's October 8 Parliamentary elections.

“I think that the Warsaw Summit was a step forward. Our progress has not been as quick as we wanted, but progress has not stopped,” said Margvelashvili.

The President also mentioned that Georgia is considered as a really important partner in maintaining the security of the Black Sea region.

“NATO, as an alliance, has a leading position in the defense field. However, it is facing some challenges. Georgia has been punished for its Western choice, which is unfortunate for everyone,” said Margvelashvili.

He also noted that the delay of the visa-liberalization process is associated with the problems within the European Union (EU). He hopes that Georgia will soon receive visa-liberalization.

“We are much more organized in cooperation issues than he European Union. We have shown that we share European values,” he noted.

While discussing the upcoming elections, the president stated that elections should be held in accordance with the European standards, noting that “this will help us, as a country, to hold democratic elections.”

“In 2012, the people were making a choice between black and white, but now people will make a free choice,” Margvelashvili stated.

On Kurt Volker’s question on what the United States’ (US) presidential candidates need to know and what is the message for them from the Georgian President, Margvelashvili said that Georgia is a very important partner for the US and ‘essential’ for global stability.

The International Conference was attended by government officials, diplomats, foreign politicians and experts.