Nino Burjanadze, the leader of Democratic Movement-United Georgia (DMUG) party, said that U.S. President Barack Obama’s remarks that Georgia is not on a path of NATO membership is what she has been telling voters for years already.
Burjanadze, who received slightly over 10% of votes in last year’s presidential election, said that when several years ago she was saying it then ruling UNM party labeled her as pro-Russian.
Under this logic, she said, “we should now expect UNM to declare President Obama as pro-Russian politician and Putin’s agent.”
“I am not at all speaking about it with delight, but I have to say that yesterday’s remarks of the U.S. President, that Georgia is not on a path to NATO membership and there has not been any immediate plans for NATO expansion, are true,” said Burjanadze, whose DMUG party has teamed up with the Christian Democratic Movement for the upcoming local elections in June.
“This is the truth I have been telling our compatriots, although saying it cost me a lot; but this is the truth which both the previous and the incumbent governments were hiding from people,” she said.
She, however, also welcomed as “adequate” remarks by PM Garibashvili in response to President Obama’s comments. Garibashvili said that there is no need to create “false expectations” about Georgia’s immediate NATO membership and U.S. President’s remarks in this respect were “absolutely adequate” and realistic. UNM opposition party slammed PM’s comments as “alarming.”
Burjanadze, however, criticized comments of other cabinet members on the issue as being “confused, weak and unprofessional.” Commenting on Obama’s remarks Foreign Minister, Maia Panjikidze, said that the U.S. President did not at all say that Georgia was not on a path to NATO membership; Panjikidze also added that Georgia is firmly on this path and “no one has said anything against that.”
Burjanadze also said that along with support from the international community, building ties with Russia and engaging in high-level direct dialogue with Moscow is extremely important for resolving Georgia’s territorial problems.
“Road to resolving Georgia’s problems lies on direct dialogue, brave policies and decisive steps; regrettably the Georgian Dream has so far failed to show that it is capable of doing that,” Burjanadze said.
“We have also been told very clearly that Georgia has no chance of either joining the European Union in the nearest future or having free-visa rules with the EU. It does not mean that we should say no to cooperation with NATO or the EU; it means that we should not delude people and ourselves,” she said.
Burjanadze also said: “Neither population, nor any self-respecting politician should be either pro-western or pro-Russian. They should be of Georgian orientation and guided by the Georgian interests.”