“With the incomprehensible steps taken in recent years, the government is confronting the country’s foreign objective, the people’s mandate, by inviting Gavrilov, you raised doubts and questions for the first time,” said Georgian President Salome Zourabichvili when delivering her annual report in the parliament.
According to Zourabichvili, the Georgian government gradually transformed.
“Instead of strengthening state institutions, being the cornerstone of democracy, the one-party system and its influence get stronger. Laws adopted in an expedited manner (on covert recordings, abolishment of state inspector, changes in the rule for appointment of judges and foreign agents bill) serve your power’s prolongation instead of serving democracy strengthening and citizens’ welfare. The court reform, vital for the country’s future, is at a deadlock,” President said.
Salome Zourabichvili went on to say that the ruling party members speak in unison, and those having different viewpoints, tend to quit the party.
“The party influence is evident in the government and parliament. The party turned into a decision-making space. The party chairman announces his standpoint on all political issues in advance, and the decision-making process is vague, not to mention open discussions.
You are the government confronting the country’s foreign goal, the people’s mandate. By inviting Gavrilov (Russian MP) in 2019, you raised doubts and questions for the first time, though the actual transformation began in 2021 when the Georgian Dream former Chairman Bidzina Ivanishvili quit politics,” she said.
President also recalled the annulling of the document drafted with the engagement of the European Council President and rejection of the EU loan.
“You have never stopped the anti-European rhetoric, blaming and insulting our partners. All this finally came to the extent that we expelled the former EU ambassador from the country with reprimands and accusations,” Zourabichvili stated.
President of the European Council Charles Michel met today with Georgian President Salome Zarubishvili in Brussels.
“Reaffirmed EU’s commitment to Georgia’s European path to President Zourabichvili and welcomed her role in advancing Georgia’s people aspirations,” Charles Michel wrote on Twitter.
He added that the decision of the European Council to grant a European perspective to Georgia is “a historic opportunity not to be missed”.
“Progress on reforms remains crucial,” said Charles Michel.
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This briefing was not scheduled. Today, anyway, I wasn't going to do anything, and when I heard that the rally was going to be held here, it was my decision and my desire to join the people with whom I shared many battles (I'm not talking here about electoral battles) in those dark days when we fought together against the criminal and unfair regime of Misha Saakashvili. I came out there for these people, not for some protesters, I don't know who, to show up in the palace, that's not the right format, and I'm sure that wasn't the intention of the people who spearheaded it.
Those people whom I respect very much because of all this and our common past, have come to the palace many times and know that my door is open, everyone has the opportunity to ask for a meeting, and I’ve shown it recently that I meet everyone, and not only those with whom these battles I have shared, and I will continue to do so.
Now I want to go back to what I wanted to say earlier and couldn't finish what I had to say, and I want to continue to say it through you, and for that, I want to thank you once again.
First, let me say: I know that this demonstration was not only organized by those people, but it was accompanied by various message boxes that have been circulating these days. This was deliberately done in order to put pressure on the President from those people, from the party whose leaders were nowhere in 2007 (I say 2007, because this is the period when everything happened and everything was clear.)
These people, who today threaten me with my career or in different ways and believe that they could threaten me, were not there then, and now they ask me about my morale and teach me how to fight against Saakashvili, who is already fallen.
I wonder where these people have been since 2007. I will tell you, one was in Misha's staff and stayed there for a long time. Another one was in "Cartu Bank", well-paid. Others were in other positions and I don't want to make it personal now, but they were nowhere so how can they ask about my morals? What can they teach me, I wonder?! The same goes for that quartet that walks around saying stuff.
It is very clear that here, there is some kind of joint game between different forces, which are supposedly very opposed. But in reality, who ‘pardoned’ Murusidze and Chinchaladze? Was it me? If so, when? I don't know, tell me! I think that the very power that is teaching me wisdom today, not only pardoned them, but placed them in such places, from which no one can remove them, and from which they also very effectively block our way to Europe.
Who is this for? Why don't we ask this?! Before the rally comes to me (when I say coming - I'm talking about the rally, not about the people who are coming to meet, have been coming and I hope they will come here again.)
What is the agreement between these two powers? On the one hand, bringing Misha. Why did some of them advised, urged him to come down here, launch a revolution, claiming people would come out for him.
On the other side, those who were playing with Georgian emotions and antagonizing him: ‘if you’re brave, come here. Don’t be lazy, come here.’
Both were excited about Misha's arrival and we can see why. Because we have been living in this for a year already and more. A year later, we are completely stuck around Misha, in arguments, disputes, fights, there is no other topic, it is impossible to raise another topic, the country is sinking around this issue, and this suits both sides.
For one side, it is probably because it cannot see other plans, because it no longer has an answer to any of the questions that society should ask its government, and I don't know what I have to do with it, but it is unacceptable. Or they don't know me, maybe they don't know me, I don't know, they still haven’t learned who I was for so many years, but pressure on the institution (and not to mention a woman and the president) that is happening today is unacceptable. This bullying, (by the way, I don't know where are those NGO people who should express something about bullying), direct blackmail, threats, humiliation are unacceptable
And here look, there’s a "Russian village" at my doorstep, and what does that mean? In no other country, in front of the president's palace, such a village, especially in this tense period, would be built, but there are different opinions and different tastes about it.
Then they threaten me with “career”, as if I could kiss my career goodbye, as if I wanted some other career, they forget how old I am, but if anyone knows me in this country, they will also know that I left my career over there a long time ago, that I am only interested in this country, I am interested only in the European future of this country, which for some reason everyone is fighting against, no one can see that our society wants this and our society will continue to want it regardless of everything - here I am, here you are and we will go on this path, despite everyone's pressure and attempts to blackmail in different ways.
“Democracy: A new hope?” is the theme of this year’s World Forum for Democracy, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary. The event, taking place from 7 to 9 November at the Council of Europe in Strasbourg, will bring together intellectuals, politicians, activists, experts and young people from all over the world to discuss the factors contributing to democratic decline and how these can be addressed.
Many leading public figures will participate in this year’s event: Katrin Jakobsdóttir, Prime Minister of Iceland and Simon Coveney, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Ireland will each give a special address; Salome Zurabishvili, President of Georgia, Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, leader of the Belarusian democratic movement, Olivier Véran, French Government Spokesperson and Minister for Democratic Renewal, Olexander Kornienko, Deputy Speaker of the Ukrainian Parliament and Lucian Romaşcanu, Minister of Culture of Romania, as well as Club of Madrid members, the former President of Mongolia, Tsakhia Elbegdorj, and the former President of Chile, Ricardo Lagos, will all participate in the opening day of the Forum.
Ten lab sessions, which will address the challenges from different angles and present some measures which have already been put into practice, will help to identify a democratic response to the issues raised throughout the Forum. On Wednesday 9 November the Council of Europe Democracy Innovation Award will be presented to the most popular initiative presented in the labs.
The programme also includes a series of Forum talks on Youth to the Rescue?; History and Education – Knowledge and Manipulation; Persuasion or Polarisation?; Discrimination and Privilege – Are Inequalities Unravelling Our Societies?; Corruption and Accountability – Keeping Faith in Democracy; Deliberation: a Booster for Democracy?; The Missed Opportunity of Democracy in Russia; and the Impact of Impunity on Journalism and Democracy.
The Forum is organised by the Council of Europe in partnership with Strasbourg City Council, the European Collectivity of Alsace, the Grand Est Region and the French Government. Since 2012, the World Forum for Democracy has become an annual opportunity for citizens around the world to reflect on democracy, to analyse its shortcomings and limitations, but also to generate new ideas to respond to the challenges facing democracy.
Georgian President Salome Zourabichvili is visiting France to attend high-ranking meetings in Strasbourg and Paris.
The president will participate in the World Forum for Democracy 2022 and the Paris Peace Forum.
According to the President’s press office, Zourabichvili will meet with Secretary General of the Council of Europe, Marija Pejčinović Burić, and PACE President Tiny Kox.
On the sidelines of the World Forum for Democracy, Zurabishvili will also meet the Prime Minister of Iceland, Katrín Jakobsdóttir.
Secretary General of the Council of Europe, Marija Pejčinović Burić is hosting Georgian President Salome Zourabichvili, the President’s press office has said.
Zourabichvili is visiting France to attend high-ranking meetings in Strasbourg and Paris.
She will participate in the World Forum for Democracy 2022 and the Paris Peace Forum.
As part of the visit, Zourabichvili will also meet with PACE President Tiny Kox and the Prime Minister of Iceland, Katrín Jakobsdóttir.
Madam President, Maia, thank you very much for your hospitality. It is a great honor for me to be here with you today in this very difficult time. This is the first visit by a President of Georgia to Moldova in 12 years. Obviously, such a visit is of special importance for the relations between our countries. But today, against the background of what is happening in Europe and Ukraine, it is very difficult to start our conversation with bilateral relations.
For our countries, the most important thing is what’s happening in Ukraine, and what happened this morning. These harsh acts that Russia is taking against the independence and territorial sovereignty of Ukraine, the bombing of Kyiv, the violence against civilians, are unacceptable in the modern world, unacceptable in Europe, unacceptable for our two countries and our values. Russia’s aggression is an anachronism. It is stuck in a century of wars and totalitarianism.
The war in Ukraine is also an incredible threat to our countries, to Europe, and to the entire world. Aggression cannot win, injustice cannot win, inhumanity must not win.
For our countries with occupied territories, this challenge is even greater since Russia announced mobilization on its territory, Russia has distributed passports in our occupied territories and is conducting mobilization on our citizens. To forcefully involve them in an unjust war, which is not theirs, is a violation of all their rights.
Once again, I condemn Russia’s aggression against the sovereignty of Ukraine and its people. I once again condemn the annexation of Ukrainian territories by Russia. I once again, on behalf of Georgia and the Georgian people, express my solidarity with Ukraine and the Ukrainian people.
The main weapon we can use against Russia’s brutality is the unprecedented solidarity shown by the international community towards Ukraine. The effective solidarity of the United States and the European Union, which Georgia and Moldova fully join, is unique.
Today, the war in Ukraine is a great challenge for Europe. Europe has now seen the true face of Russia. We went through different times, other wars, other occupations, when our European partners looked at Russia differently and still believed that Russia could be a reliable partner, despite its actions. The war in Ukraine changed this view. Now, everyone has seen the true face of Russian aggression, Russian imperialism, its conduct.
Because of this challenge and through the dedication and perseverence of Ukraine and its people, a new path of opportunities has opened. Not only is Europe seeing Russia differently, it is also looking at our countries differently. Those countries that were already moving towards Europe through Association now have an open path with the war in Ukraine. This path is the European perspective for all three countries and the candidate status that has already been given to Ukraine and Moldova. For that, I once again want to congratulate them and in this case, Moldova. We remain in the same perspective, the same path. We have the same reforms to implement. We have a slightly different calendar and have to reach our candidacy status by implementing twelve recommendations, while Ukraine and Moldova also have to carry out reforms.
I am deeply convinced that the three nations that accepted this association together at the Petra Summit as a trio, the three countries that launched a more active phase of European integration together will see the result of this path together. This war will end with the victory of Ukraine, the reconstruction of Ukraine, and our accession to the European Union.
This is the symbolic message of the Prague Summit, where for the first time EU members, candidates, and countries with perspective all sat together around one table, a symbol of the fact that we are all members of the European family. This is our future and not one of us has a different perspective.
This is why our two countries need more solidarity and towards this, we need to strengthen our relations, have more solidarity with and from the EU, for our future is indivisible, our independence is indivisible, and our freedom is indivisible.
President Salome Zourabichvili awarded posthumously Prince Raimondo Umberto Maria Orsini d'Aragona the Medal of Honor for his outstanding contribution to the strengthening of relations between Georgia and the Holy See and for his numerous charitable activities in Georgia. The President presented the award during her working visit to the Holy See to his widow, Princess Ketevan Bagration of Mukhrani, Ambassador of Georgia to the Holy See, and their children, Lelio Nicolò Orsini, Luisa Eleonora Orsini and Dorothea Orsini.
The President stated, “The loss of Prince Raimondo Orsini is a great pain for both Georgia and Italy. This man represented the unity between our two nations. This was a man who, during the most difficult period in the history of Georgia, started a charitable activity for the benefit of Georgia and every Georgia, and who did not stop until the last minute of his life.
“He was the founder of St. George’s Shield in Rome, one of the main charitable and cultural organizations. Those children he helped remember the support that Prince Orsini gave them when they had cancer.
“Prince Raimondo Orsini made a great contribution and strengthened the relations between Georgia and the Holy See. For this and many other honorable and worthy reasons, I want to hand over this Medal of Honor to his wife and children.”
Ambassador Bagration of Mukhrani thanked the President for recognizing the work of her late husband and noted that their family has been contributing to the development of bilateral relations for 30 years.
On the 26 of May, the Georgian nation decided once and for all to live in a free, independent country - S. ZourabichviliFriday, 27 May 2022 10:54
First of all, happy Independence Day to those of you who are swearing allegiance to the homeland today. The Georgian military has been characterized by its ability to fight, by its responsibility, its self-sacrifice and loyalty to oath. Today, you are becoming part of this worthy military history. You know and are well aware that defending the independence and freedom of a country is not an easy task and requires dignity and dedication.
On the 26 of May, the Georgian nation decided once and for all to live in a free, independent country. Thus, the Georgian nation once and for all refused to be part of another country, refused slavery.
Today, the 26 of May, is not only a day to revive the past, nor is it an ordinary holiday, it is a day of reflection and understanding. A day when we should think about our country and ask ourselves whether we are doing everything that this country needs, for its future, for the well-being of its people, for its independence and for its freedom.
This question should be asked by everyone, every citizen, every child of this country, living here or abroad. After all, independence means that the future of our children is in our hands and that no one can avoid this responsibility. However, and this thinking is obvious, those of us who stand on this side of the tribune owe more, for we have more responsibility. This responsibility is stronger now, because Georgia is once again standing at a crossroads, not unlike many crucial moments in its history. In front of us has come the time for new opportunities and new challenges and they require certain answers, readiness, foresight, a vision and courage with caution. It requires unity in the first place - and I will say this as many times as it takes.
A historic opportunity arose on the road to Europe. This road to Europe did not arise without bloodshed and without sacrifice. This aspiration was based on the knowledge that common values united us and connected us to the European civilization. And while we defended the Georgian faith, identity and values against a number of conquering empires, we also defended Europe at the same time. These shared values encompassed everything that is the key to our European future today, that is - four core values and principles.
1) A fair court, a principle which dates back many centuries in Georgia and is based on the historical cornerstones of Georgian law: be it the customary law of Antiquity, the 13th-century "Book of All the Mistakes of Men", the 14th-century criminal law of King George the Brilliant, or King Vakhtang VI’s unique repertoire of historical legal writings. The history of Georgian law would have adorned many European countries, and it is a bit of a shame that we cannot continue this legacy properly today.
2) The cornerstone of Georgian culture, which is also the defining value for Europe - tolerance and diversity. Even today, we and Europe owe it to ourselves to continue this tradition.
3) The Christianity of Europe and Georgia instructed us to recognize humanity as the center of the world and therefore to respect and protect all of its rights. On our way to Europe, this also stands on our agenda.
4) And finally, the balance of power to avoid the temptation of authoritarianism that characterizes our history. The division of the Executive and Legislative branches and their balancing dates back to the 12th-century reign of Tamar the King, under the form of the Karavi and the Darbazi, which stand as the foundations of Georgian parliamentarism. Thus, we must understand that the protection of these values is neither the fulfillment of someone else's dictated will, nor the danger of alienation and loss of identity, but on the contrary - taking decisive steps on the path to Europe is tantamount to returning to oneself. That is why, cognitively or intuitively, this path is supported by all of society and this support has not only slowed down but strengthened over the years. Today, for the first time, a real chance has arisen. Neither the civil society united around this goal, nor the souls of our ancestors, nor the future generations will forgive us for missing this chance. Instead, those who will be able to succeed on this path will inherit a unique place and appreciation in Georgian history. The choice is yours! The choice is ours!
With this great historical chance, Georgia is facing no less powerful challenges. The war in Ukraine, in the heart of Europe, reminds us of the tragedies of the war waged on Georgia more than once in the past centuries. Precisely because we know the cost of such devotion to country, do we owe it to ourselves not only to feel the pain of the Ukrainian people, but also to show full solidarity with them. We understand what is the power of solidarity and we see this in the Georgian society expressing that solidarity in all possible ways. We also understand very well that even our accelerated path toward Europe is the merit of the Ukrainian people, achieved with their blood and suffering. Ukraine has gone through incredible battles, its warriors have shown the world an example of courage, devotion and endurance. I would like to pay here tribute to the fallen Ukrainian and Georgian heroes, because what they all fought for is independence and freedom, and the 26 of May is a day for independence and freedom. We know and will never forget that Ukraine today defends not only its own freedom, sovereignty, and independence, but also our freedom and that of other European countries. It protects the future of a united, strong, free Europe.
At this time, the challenges related to our occupied territories are not slowing down, on the contrary. In this tense environment, there is an attempt to convince people that Georgia can "use this time" and try to return territories by force - this is another obvious Russian misinformation. I once again address our citizens in Abkhazia and Tskhinvali, assuring you that Georgia will not act against you through war and force. It is clear to everyone today which country threatens the sovereignty, identity and life of its neighbors. This is not Georgia. I appeal to you and offer that, as in the past we created the Georgian state together, now together we should create an equal future. I offer to you to join us in an European united future. I offer you freedom, and the respect and protection of your language, your identity, your history, your culture. I offer you new accord. At this time, this yet-another provocation by Russia, the threat of referendum and annexation, will not achieve its goal - the escalation of the confrontation between us and our shift from the policy of peace. Russia mustn’t make another grave mistake and wrongdoing, and must not once again try to disregard all the norms and principles of international law. This will not go unanswered and will provoke appropriate reactions from the international community.
Today, on the 26 of May, my request and wish to you, the society and the political elite, is one: Strength is in Unity! When if not today, must we realize that we have no other way! A united nation has a great future ahead: Europe and return to our roots! Once again, I would like to appeal to all of you and remind you that national accord in this should not remain an empty word and should reflect our state and historical consciousness. This chance exists today!
I would like to read one sentence from the declaration created by several groups of young people that will be signed today at the Orbeliani Palace: "Young people living in Georgia stand together to reach out to the international community at this crucial moment in the country and to express our unwavering will and support for the country's European future."
We are tasked with listening to these young people and paving the way for future generations to make their own choices. Success on this path depends on us and only us. And “us” means all of us: the government, the opposition and the society with all its components.
That is why I am ready to be your voice and deliver this message of the nation where the voice of Georgia should be heard today! So they too can understand the unified message of Georgia "We are Europeans"! We must all serve this goal... and this is how I understand the words of the oath uttered today: "I serve Georgia!"
Long live Georgia!
2022 Address to the Parliament of Georgia by President Salome Zourabichvili. "Horrible scenes are unfolding before our eyes today. Hospitals, children's oncological hospitals, kindergartens and schools, even churches of a same faith bombed by Russia. Evacuation of the elderly and pregnant women.
The relentless struggle of Ukrainian soldiers, or ordinary citizens, to defend their land, homeland and save their independence: such a selfless struggle against Russian aggression only evokes in us respect, solidarity and support.
Georgia has stood and stands by Ukraine and Ukrainians!
I would like to ask you to stand up and show our solidarity!
Let us honor the selfless heroes with a minute of silence!
I want to thank the representative of Ukraine here, Mr. Andrii Kasianov, and with him all those who are defending our freedom and our European future today in Kyiv, in Odessa, in Mariupol.
I want you to know that we are expressing the united spirit of all of Georgia here. We express here, all of us gathered here, the support of the State and of all its institutions, of all political forces and of ordinary citizens. I also want to emphasize that today, the Church is represented here with us and together, we all express our full support for Ukraine and for the Ukrainians!
Today, from those looking at this tragedy, we Georgians understand what Russian centuries-old imperialism means, we Georgians understand and share the most what the Ukrainian nation is going through.
Ukraine and Georgia went through one path: liberation from the Russian Empire, independence, invasion by Soviet Russia and its following uprisings, repressions and the Holodomor; restoration of independence, separatist conflicts provoked by Russia, more war and more occupation. Despite all this, no one and nothing could stop us from freedom and independence. No one and nothing could make us deviate from the historical European path we have chosen.
The history of Georgia, just as the history of Ukraine, is a history of pride and devotion. History is an example of trials and tribulations, of relentless, heroic, selfless struggle against the invaders. This is how a nation is created. The miracle of the centuries-old history of the Georgian nation has been and is in its endurance, its resilience, its unbreakability, its pride! Today, we see the same attitude in Ukraine, and I believe it can only lead to victory.
Today, not only Ukraine, but the whole world is facing the hardest days, but the battle of Ukraine, whether it is won or not, is already successful! Successful, because these events opened the eyes of the world and woke us up.
Undoubtedly, Ukraine's merit is unprecedented international solidarity and unity in this solidarity. Undoubtedly, Ukraine's merit is the unprecedented unanimity and firmness of the European Union, the joint actions of the United States and Europe. Through its accomplishment, Russia is isolated today, weakened tomorrow.
Today is a turning point for everyone, including Georgia, because today we are facing great challenges that may become even more severe tomorrow. Yet at the same time, as is usual in history, with new challenges, crises and wars come new opportunities. New roads are opening up. On this new path, Georgia must take its place. We need to understand what is happening, understand and prepare for every possible event and not sit idly by and wait for what the future holds. This is the obligation of all of us who sit here before the country! Time is running out. If we do not prepare for new events, new threats and new opportunities now, that time will not come back.
That is why I fail to understand and cannot tolerate, that today, at such a crucial time for our country and for all of us, instead of ending quarrels, fights, enmities, destructive confrontations and polarizations at this crossroads, those of you gathered here forget what is reflected on our coat of arms: “Strength is in Unity!”
Society is much more awake than you, conscious, brave and most importantly united. Today I see that signs of national accord have been awakened in the people, although I do not see it in you. Do you not understand what responsibilities you have all together before your people?
And today both sides, both the ruling power and the opposition, are sinning and sinning in front of the country!
The majority, instead of seeking consent, chastises anyone who disagrees as traitor and sometimes as party to war. The opposition, instead of seeking accord, declares any statement or decision of the government as pro-Russian.
Both approaches, in addition to being completely unacceptable and reminiscent of the methods of the Soviet past, are detrimental to country, both from the inside and the outside, and to some extent dangerous. At home, they cause division, weaken us, deprive us of power, confuse and frighten society. Outside the country, they make incomprehensible the sustainability and purposefulness of our national aspirations.
The government sins when it does not dare to express what our history and dignity dictate. There is no justification for this. None of the arguments of caution or fear changes the fact that we must stand with dignity, at least in words, where our conscience and our Georgianness demand it!
The government sins when, at this turning point, it did not present before Europe this historic declaration of our country as backed by joint signatures as a sign of national consolidation and as the first step of national accord, but chose to lock itself in and sign it alone.
The government sins when party is given preference over state institutions over decision-making or publicity. When key decisions between government agencies are not considered jointly and information is not shared. How can one believe that in such a difficult and watchful circumstance the Security Council had not met even once, never have military threats been jointly discussed in the presence of the Supreme Commander-in-Chief. These machinations must be corrected immediately!
The opposition sins when it has attempts in Brussels, Kyiv or the United States to tarnish Georgia's name and face and portray the country in such a way that we prefer fear to dignity! As if we are not worthy of either joining the European Union or partnering with NATO and the United States. Or even worse, when it claims that the government - and therefore the country - has changed its pro-Western course! It is an insult to the country and to your people when you accuse your country so much in Washington and your own country has to defend itself from you. Such politically motivated attack not only harms the government, but also the country and bids the work of the enemy.
The opposition sins when it insults the police and police officers. The Police is an institution with a special responsibility for the stability and security of the country. Especially during this extremely tense period. Respect and support for them is incumbent on everyone, especially those chosen by the people. How is this time for ketchup and flour? It is a shame!
The opposition sins when it calls for radical measures and seeks to overthrow the government, that is, to use its current international situation to achieve its own political agenda. In one shot, it puts the country in a deadlock and maybe in danger, without seeking responsibility for it. It verbally appeals to unity while seeking to win political points through provocations.
However, I agree with both. With the government on the need for some caution and with the opposition on the need for courage.
Therefore, I do not and will not go into the assessment of individual statements or actions of the government that relate to the war in Ukraine and our security. Such discussions should take place in a closed but inclusive format, involving everyone, listening and exchanging opinions, and then everyone should take joint responsibility for the decisions made. The government is responsible for creating this format.
Therefore, I do not and will not go into analyzing the actions of individuals who are deliberately manipulating and trying to sow misunderstanding, resentment, disagreement and inspire any rift between two friendly countries during this difficult time. It is clear to everyone and our partners are well aware that any disagreement between Ukraine and Georgia is favorable for Russia and only for Russia.
I do not and will not go into the discussion of the issue of pardoning Saakashvili, where it should be coming from, because the answer has already been given once. The resurgence of this matter at the time of the war in Ukraine only provokes internal polarization.
Once again, even an attempt to bring any misunderstanding between us and Ukraine is unacceptable. I will not allow this. Therefore, just like last year, on April 9, during my address to Parliament, I appealed to the Government of Georgia to return our Ambassador to Ukraine. Also, today from here, from this rostrum, I address my colleague and friend, the President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, and ask him to return the ambassador so that the connection between the two nations, in these difficult moments, can be fully strengthened, closer and more unwaveringly.
In this difficult time, let us open our eyes at least today and understand what is happening to us. Let us all come to our senses, let's get into this new time together and show to the country the direction and the path!
Let’s correct what hinders us on the path to progress and success. Unity is our only solution. This unity begins with the President, as according to the Constitution, the President guarantees unity.
Therefore, it is absurd when you accuse the President of dividing society when she appeared on Rustaveli Avenue to represent the whole of Georgia! To represent all those who did not come because of political reasons and those who simply could not come. At the same time, the President presented herself on Rustaveli Avenue as the host of the President of a friendly country, as Georgian manners require! This is not a division, this is the first expression of national accord! Those who do not understand this do not understand the voice of the nation. If not the politicians, the public understood all of it perfectly.
And it is time for everyone to understand that the president does not belong to any political force and will not belong to another. She fulfills only the promise made at the inauguration: "I take responsibility with the authority granted by the Constitution, to be the president of all, the president of all Georgian citizens."
The institution of the President is not just about respect, it is necessary to cooperate with it, especially during this difficult period. The war in Ukraine, the new approaches of the EU, Georgia's place in the light of these changes, threats and preparedness ... These are topics that should and would be discussed in any country, not only within the government, but also between the government and the president, between the majority in parliament and various opposition.
Therefore, two weeks ago, I signed a special session of parliament to discuss Ukraine. Therefore, I requested that the Security Council be held in an expanded format.
I therefore appealed to Parliament to schedule my speech on 5 March, shortly after my return from Europe. None of the calls were shared, no extraordinary meeting was scheduled, nor extended Security Council, and finally, the date required for the annual speech was not met.
It is incomprehensible at this time, when the need is highest and time is running out, the restrictions imposed on the President's international activities.
On February 26, 2022, I was refused in written manner to pay working visits to Paris, Brussels, Berlin and Warsaw. Given the current situation, I have canceled all official formats. At such times I found it necessary to use my personal contacts and turn working visits into personal meetings. I think that this approach and such restrictions are harmful for our country, which is in such a difficult region. There is no time for restrictions, on the contrary, whatever we can, at the international level, we should be involved as much as possible, we should not give rest to our partners! I even think that my forty years of experience in diplomacy and strategic affairs, and the personal contacts acquired during this period, are more useful to this country than to lose.
Today we are faced with two issues that force us to act together: that is, the issue of new EU membership and the issues of support for Ukraine and the problems created around it.
My visit to Europe has convinced me that there is a new real and genuine chance of joining the European Union, a real readiness on the part of our partners. In this context, it was necessary and I tried my best, through personal meetings and through international media appearances to establish Georgia's place in these processes, so for them not to be tempted to either forget Georgia or consider it in a different light than Ukraine or Moldova.
Now it is heard from all sides: What shall we do? How do we increase our chances? When and how?
My answer is: Unity! Unity and unity!
There should be no division and separate running to our partners! It is necessary to prepare and present the united plan for the national accord, which will not be a subject to the annulment! President, Prime Minister, Government and the Parliament, all political parties, media, non-governmental organizations, ordinary citizens – all of us should be united and act around one plan and one purpose. We should be working on the package of reforms the execution of which will be mandatory if we seriously see out future in Europe. This will be the real illustration of the national accord, without which, so far none of the countries have integrated in the EU.
Similarly, our approach toward the war in Ukraine should be consolidated. It’s not permissible for anyone, whether a friend or an enemy, to doubt that we cannot agree on such an existential question of existence. I’m convinced that the society thinks more sensibly and its consolidation is possible. It’s not permissible that the country that historically is an exemplary heir to the wars of independence and those of injustice not to stand with Ukraine. It is also clear that as the representative of the US State Department has noticed himself, it not permissible for anyone not to understand the extraordinary conditions that the country, with 20% of the territories occupied with the occupation line located in 40km from the capital, is in.
Our path is one: of principle, but intelligible, neither the provocation of the confrontation, not of advance concession and vague politics of the extreme caution. If this line becomes that of our union, in this framework, it will be easier to discuss our sentimental questions, sanctions etc.
On the one side, ccautiousness is necessary, because of the occupation, regional challenges and country’s economic capabilities. On the other side requires us to behave as suitable to Ukraine’s friend and member of international community. The question of Russian citizens entering the country is a sensitive one, which should not become subject of our division, cause of a reputation damage and that of panic. Here too, we have to maintain balanced position. In this regard, those official statements that appellate on the dangers of ethic discrimination in Georgia are harmful. Instead, the Government is obliged to provide the society with exact and timely information, and convince it that civil order is ensured both on the border and in the country.
I would like to address the government and the opposition party representatives: in these hardest times all means should be used to achieve the united position: on the side, the question of EU integration and on the other side – Ukraine. It should be achieved in a way that none of the questions are used for narrow, political interests. I welcome Prime Minister’s statement regarding EU integration. I welcome the resolution that the parliament is working on and I call on this resolution to be adopted unanimously. I have also familiarizes myself with the statements of several NGOs, societies’ petitions and initiatives that I also welcome.
I offer for all these beginnings to be united and for everyone to sign one document, which will be our application’s support and the sign of our full consolidation, and for it to be sent to European Union in one package on behalf of Georgia.
I offer an immediate creation of the position of the EU Integration State Minister and its department, which can be selected from the opposition. He/She will conduct coordination for the integration requirements to be promptly executed, as in the case of other candidate countries.
I call on Government to create extended or other format of the National Security Council with the participation of the opposition, where all the sentimental questions will be discussed. Here too, I would like to once again call on you to announce moratorium on the hate speech in this hardest period.
Lastly, I address the people – I want to thank you for all the private solidarity initiatives, with which you have expressed the support for Ukraine.
Also, on behalf of the Georgian living Ukraine and my own, I would like to thank the employees of the Embassy and the Consulate in Kyiv, Odessa and Lviv, for their personal and tireless devotion.
I want to tell you that hard period is waiting for us, hard economic and social circumstances, just like the whole world. This is our contributing part, at a time when our Ukrainian brothers with their blood and fight are defending the freedom and independence, and open the doors for a new future.
I want you to know, I will try everything, with the Government and the opposition to together find the means of cooperation and unity. To stand up to the threats together and together to find the keys of all the new doors. You too have to contribute, to fulfill your obligation and to bring National Accord to reality. This is the real cornerstone of the country, which will allow us to endure and do everything.
Glory to Ukraine! Glory to Heroes! Long live Georgia"!