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Georgian PM delivers a speech at discussion organized by RUSI

By Khatia Bzhalava
Thursday, October 15
The Prime Minister of Georgia Giorgi Gakharia participated in a thematic discussion organized by the Royal United Services Institute for Defence and Security Studies (RUSI). The main topics of the PM’s speech were Georgia’s role in the wider Black Sea region, the country’s Euro-Atlantic aspirations, occupation of territories, and security challenges existing in the region and hybrid threats. The information is published by the press service of the Government of Georgia.

The PM started his speech by talking about the difficult situation in the occupied territories. Gakharia mentioned that even in times of Pandemic, Georgia faces so-called ‘borderization’ and that the Russian Federation constantly violates the 2008 Ceasefire Agreement. He noted that there are thousands of IDPs in Georgia, who are still unable to return to their homes.

The PM also named hybrid threats as one of the most serious challenges to the country.

“Georgia is recognized as a successful country in the fight against COVID-19, but, in this regard, we became a target of a cyber-attack that has directly threatened our Healthcare system – primarily, the Lugar Laboratory, which has a crucial role in the fight against the coronavirus. One of the recent challenges that we faced was a large-scale cyber-attack against Georgian government and private sector websites in 2019,” said the PM.

According to the information, Gakharia stressed the potential of the Black Sea, which presents a crucial aspect in terms of the country’s security and Euro-Atlantic aspirations. The PM noted that Georgia’s new role regarding the Black Sea includes three main directions, which are – political, economic, and security. Georgia has a very good relationship with the EU and owns important tools such as – DCFTA, Association Agreement, visa-free travel. The PM noted this project will be beneficial for all parties. “When it comes to the security of Black Sea, we see it as a new opportunity to cooperate with NATO and other strategic partners, that is why everything related to the Black Sea is so important to us,” he said.

Georgia’s Euro-Atlantic integration was mentioned as the main priority of Georgia's foreign policy agenda. According to Gakharia, Georgia is starting negotiations with the EU about the new agenda. Besides, he stated that the purpose of the country’s Euro-Atlantic integration is NATO membership and stated that the country is practically ready to become a member.

While viewing the Armenia-Azerbaijani conflict, Gakharia emphasized the importance of peace in the Caucasus region. According to the Prime Minister, as soon as the situation escalated, Georgia suspended permission on the transit of military cargo in the direction of both countries, otherwise, Georgia would have faced a risk of getting involved in the conflict one way or another, which is completely unacceptable for Georgia, according to Gakharia.

“We expressed readiness to host negotiations between sides in Tbilisi. At the same time, we understand that support from Western partners has vital importance for soothing tension in the region. Of course, the OSCE Minsk Group should play the major role here,” the PM stated.

At the end, Gakharia emphasized the exceptional relationship between Georgia and the United Kingdom and thanked the British partners for supporting Georgia’s territorial integrity and sovereignty.