No matter of difficulties that country may face, Georgia will remain committed to its “ambitious plan” to sign the Association Agreement with the EU within a year after it will be initialed at the Eastern Partnership summit in Vilnius next week, President Margvelashvili said on November 22.
“The Georgian society, the Georgian political spectrum are united that Georgia is a member of the European family. We have explicitly stressed that this is an issue over which the Georgian society is consolidated, therefore we will together overcome any difficulty or challenge that we may face and the ambitious plan that we have – to sign the Association Agreement within a year after initialing – remains the main strategy of our government,” Margvelashvili told journalists while visiting a military base in Vaziani outside Tbilisi.
Margvelashvili, who will lead the Georgian delegation at the Vilnius summit, also said: “We are going to this summit with extremely good results, because we held exemplary, European-type of [presidential] election… We believe that Georgia is integral part of Europe and we have good evidence of that stemming from the recent political developments. So we will focus on that and focus on future plans that will follow after the initialling of the agreement up until its signing.”
New secretary of National Security Council, Irina Imerlishvili, said after initialing of the Association Agreement Georgia will “cooperate intensively” with Western partners to have this agreement signed within a year.
Deputy Foreign Minister, Davit Zalkaliani, said Ukraine’s decision to suspend preparations for Association Agreement with the EU will not affect Georgia’s choice.
“I want to express my hope that the issue of signing Association Agreement is not closed for Ukraine and to express hope that sooner or later it will happen anyway. It is important for us to make right conclusions about what has happened in respect of Ukraine,” Zalkaliani said. “Difficult and important period lies ahead of us after the Vilnius summit, because we are moving into the phase when we should get ready for signing of the Association Agreement.”
“I also want to express hope that the European Union will also make adequate conclusions,” he added.
GD lawmaker Irakli Sesiashvili, who chairs parliamentary committee for defense and security, said that Ukraine’s decision means that Russia has prevailed. He, however, also said that it might have some positive implications for Georgia and called on the EU to speed up integration process with those Eastern Partnership countries, which have “unwavering aspiration towards the West.”
“Of course that [decision of Ukraine] is bad, but it may have some positive aspects for us as well in a sense that the Europe should at last appreciate our unwavering aspiration towards the West,” Sesiashvili said. “The West should think that if it wants this process to continue it should... speed up processes in respect of those countries, which want to be part of the Europe.”
Commenting on Ukraine’s decision, Georgian State Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration, Alexi Petriashvili, said “of course it’s preferable” to have as many countries of Eastern Partnership as possible on the path of association with the EU, “but every country has its own choice.”
“We have chosen our path and it has been chosen by the majority of the Georgian people and the government will spare no effort to fulfill this goal, therefore no obstacle whatsoever will hinder Georgia on this path of achieving this goal,” Petriashvili told the Georgian public TV on November 22.