The President of Georgia Salome Zourabichvili delivered an annual report to the Parliament. In her speech, she has summarized the most important developments of 2019 year.
Progress in Euro-Atlantic Integration
“It’s been 30 years since the restoration of independence and we are already at the door of Europe as an advanced associate member. When we were celebrating the referendum results and raising the flag, we could hardly think that in this short period of history, Georgia would have achieved free movement and free trade with the European Union and become one of NATO’s most trusted and respected partners.
We could not have imagined that NATO military exercises of such importance would be held on the territory of Georgia every year. We could not have imagined that Georgia would participate not only in international peacekeeping missions but also in those missions with a high level of military professionalism and responsibility.
The Georgia Support Act adopted by the US Congress is the confirmation of our partners" great confidence and trust in our country. Thirty years ago, we could not imagine that Georgia would become a worthy member of any international organization that today faces regional or global challenges. Sometimes they criticize us because Georgia is considered to be one of the leading partners, and naturally, there are greater expectations”, - said Salome Zourabichvili.
The Georgian army is the main defender and the main pillar of the state
“The Georgian army is the main defender and the main pillar of the state. Protecting the borders begins with protecting the dignity of the nation and the state.
One government can pretend to be sole responsible for such progress, while all successive governments have had their share. In the end, these achievements have to be attributed to the whole society.
But measuring the progress will not be sufficient if we do not recover trust in ourselves and do not start believing again that we can forge our future. To re-appropriate our national ideology, a concept that was obliterated in Soviet times, means in reality that we need strong roots in the past in order to build a strong future.
A united country needs to rest on common values that can cement social cohesion and hence, the nation.
The Georgian Army is the depositary of such common values. The Georgian Army has the highest mission to both defend the State and be its most solid foundation. The defense of our territory starts with the defense and the respect of the values of the nation and of the state, within and outside our borders.
On the 25th of February, I visited the National Defense Academy and the Military Lyceum. I was met there by the spirit with which our younger generations should be educated and which should nourish society. The national spirit and confidence, without which no nation can exist, was overwhelmingly present in those young military men and women”, - concluded the President.
We should show Abkhazians and Ossetians their future perspectives that pave way towards Europe
“Georgia still has untapped potential in the international arena. We should contribute to the EU and NATO not only by participating in existing programs, but also by presenting initiatives and new ideas. Which are cyber security, Black Sea security and its transformation into central communication area.
Besides the membership, our goal should be to become a more active player into NATO and the EU. If we evaluate our abilities properly, we will be able to deal with the challenges. We should show Abkhazians and Ossetians their future perspectives which will not pose a threat to them but pave the way towards Europe.
We have made significant steps regarding the occupied territories, but beyond these steps we must prepare for a more thorough policy. We have to show Abkhazians and Ossetians the prospect of a future that will not pose a threat to them, but paves the way towards Europe. However, we must remember that creating a new perspective and de-occupation cannot be separated from one another”, - said Salome Zourabichvili.
If Russia wants to use occupation to divert Georgia from its chosen path, this result will not be achieved
“If Russia wants to use occupation to divert Georgia from its chosen path and make Georgia renounce its aspirations, this result will not be achieved.
If Russia’s aim were to establish with Georgia and the rest of the region neighborly relations that would be in everybody’s interest. But such a new relationship rests on the respect for the sovereignty and the free choice of the nation, it rests on de-escalation. It rests on de-occupation.
We, on our part, might want to think about new steps to be taken and new positions to present with our partners or with Russia. But it must be underlined and mustn’t be misunderstood: such steps do not mean unilateral concessions, surrendering, nor accepting shadow deals. Any issue that cannot and will not be solved by resorting to the use of force requires, while having drawn clear red lines, the right mixture of rationality, audacity, forward movement and, what is essential, unity of will in society.
When we know that each move on the administrative line - each redrawing of this line, is designed as a provocation, it should be understood that using this issue for internal political gains or for mutual accusations is unacceptable”, - said the President.
Independence and of judges and raising the level of trust in the judicial system - priority for the country
“Judicial reform has gone in the recent years through four major stages. Despite certain criticisms, some legitimate and some politically motivated, one has to recognize all in all the progress accomplished. For one, the statistics of the cases referred to the European Court of Human Rights have notably decreased, and these numbers are some of the - if not the only - objective measurements of the level of trust by society towards its national courts.
It is equally clear that the Georgian judicial system is not to be measured to the European system in the making for centuries. And that is no surprise given where we come from, seventy years of Soviet practice. That is why the independence and high professionalism of judges and raising the level of trust in the judicial system still remains a priority for the country. In this regard, the rapid and complete implementation of the reform of the High School of Justice shows us the path for the future”, - concluded Salome Zourabichvili.