Georgian President Giorgi Margvelashvili, Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili and Parliamentary Chairman Irakli Kobakhidze addressed the 14th Batumi International Conference on July 13 and talked on the issues of Russia’s occupation of Georgia, Black Sea region and European security, reforms ongoing in the country and its European integration agenda.
The two-day conference entitled “Georgia’s European Way - Ensuring Regional Stability” gathered officials from Georgia, EU member states and Eastern Partnership countries, as well as representatives of the civil society, academic community, media and the business sector.
President Giorgi Margvelashvili
In his address, President Margvelashvili focused on the occupation of Georgia’s regions by Russia. He assessed the situation in Abkhazia and South Ossetia as “a historic injustice” and called on the international community “to be extremely principled when it comes to the infringement of Georgian interests, Georgia’s territorial integrity.”
The President also spoke about Georgia’s European choice and noted that the country “is integrating into the European process not only as a country seeking European benefits, but as a country that contributes to the European project.”
“Georgia contributes to the European process its unique, centuries-old culture, which is based on European values. Georgia enters the European process as one of the main stabilizers of the region; as a country centered around cooperation and regional development; as one of the most responsible … players in solving the most important issues, including the European energy security; and as one of the most responsible actors in ensuring the global security,” the President added.
Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili
Speaking at the conference, Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili highlighted the reforms initiated by the Government of Georgia; he also discussed the results of the visa liberalisation with the EU, implementation of the Association Agreement, Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area, economic cooperation and energy security.
The Prime Minister emphasized that “Georgia’s democratic development, European and Euro-Atlantic integration is a clear result of our European aspirations and we remain committed to this goal.”
He also focused on the upcoming Eastern Partnership summit scheduled in Brussels in November 2017. “It is no secret to anyone that our ultimate goal is to become a full-fledged member of the European Union,” Kvirikashvili said, adding that “it is important to think about new opportunities in this respect.”
“We have a clear vision towards the European integration and the plan for making this vision a reality; our goal is to reach maximum integration possible, when our accession to the European Union will depend on only a political decision,” Kvirikashvili noted.
The Prime Minister also spoke about the problem of Georgia’s territorial integrity. “We will never tolerate occupation,” he said and thanked the EU Monitoring Mission to Georgia for its contribution to “the security and stability and confidence building, as well as for preventing escalation on the ground.”
Parliamentary Chairman Irakli Kobakhidze
In his remarks at the conference, Parliamentary Chairman Irakli Kobakhidze focused on the ongoing “large scale constitutional reform” in Georgia, saying that the reform aims at ensuring the country’s long-term democratic development and at “securing its place in the European family.”
Kobakhidze also spoke about the human rights violations in the occupied territories and noted that hundreds of thousands of Georgian citizens “are deprived of the fundamental right – not to live displaced in their homeland.”
“Despite the difficulties and challenges faced by Georgia on its European path, I am sure that the dream of our country and our people to become a full-fledged member of European family will definitely come true,” Kobakhidze added.
Participants of the two-day conference in Batumi will deliberate on European security architecture, energy security, fighting propaganda and migration; they will also focus on the Association Agreements, DCFTA and other developments in the Eastern Partnership countries.
The Batumi International Conference is being held annually since 2007.