President Giorgi Margvelashvili said that right now he does not see Russia mounting pressure on Georgia to deter the country from signing the Association Agreement with the EU, but Tbilisi should remain vigilant.
He said in an interview with the Rustavi 2 TV on February 14 that it would be “completely” wrong to be “calm”, but there is no reason for “panic” either.
“I want to stress that at this stage I do not see pressure from Russia on Georgia’s sovereignty in terms of preventing [Georgia] from signing the Association Agreement… We should say it in order not to create an illusion that some kind of pressure is being exerted,” Margvelashvili said and stressed that he does not see such pressure “at this stage.”
“Are we extremely attentive to this issue? Of course, we are, because we have a tragic experience of relationship with the Russian Federation and we have an example of Ukraine. Therefore, we are watching with extreme attention what is happening – whether such pressure will be exerted or not. Today no such pressure is being exerted,” he said.
He said that there are “firm guarantees” within Georgia to resist such pressure if there is any in the future. “These guarantees are both in the government and within the public… The Georgian public is united over this value and over this [foreign policy] course,” Margvelashvili said.
Margvelashvili said that potential high-level Georgian-Russian meeting should serve on launching “rational” discussion of the major problems in “calm” atmosphere. He said that “hysteric” rhetoric in bilateral relations is now over and “attempts to discuss rationally existing problems” should start.
“The fact that Georgia does not consider military [solution] to very painful problems in Abkhazia and the Tskhinvali region is known, but beyond that we want to show our Russian interlocutors that we are ready to consider in a rational context what might be Russia’s interest and that existing situation, no matter how painful it might be for Georgians, is not beneficial for Russia and neither for Georgian citizens, Abkhazians and Ossetians, who remain on the other side of barbed wires,” Margvelashvili said. “Our goal is to take dialogue in this context.”