Margvelashvili: Georgia makes European choice, but doesn't give up on Russia
Georgian president Giorgi Margvelashvili made his annual report to the Parliament today. PM Giorgi Kvirikashvili and some government members were present in the Parliament chamber.
Before starting his speech, Margvelashvili paid tribute to the memory of the late PM Zurab Zhvania, who died on February 3, 2005.
In his report he said that Georgia is celebrating the 25th anniversary of its independence, but the fight for freedom still continues. "25 years ago we finished our fight for independence. But we still have a road to travel from independence to freedom," Margvelashvili said.
The President stressed that Georgia is not a guest in the family of the European states, but a fully-fledged member. "Based on our historical choice, I have declared 2016 the Year of the European State, which is a continuation of the struggle of past generations," he said.
"The main thing for us now is to understand in what stage of transformation from a pro-Western state into a Western State we are in," Margvelashvili pointed out.
"The Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway, the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline, the Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum gas pipeline and other initiatives of the Silk Road are very important. There is another important point – the discovery of the potential of Iran and Georgia's new role: the development of the economic potential of Iran and the Persian Gulf," Margvelashvili noted.
"As the head of state, I once again confirm Georgia's desire to establish neighborly relations with Russia based on respect for each other's interests," he said.
Margvelashvili called last year a difficult one for the country, both politically and economically. Among the factors complicating the situation in the country he named the economic slowdown in the region, the worldwide strengthening of the US dollar, falling oil prices and an economic recession on the background of the conflict in eastern Ukraine.
The head of the Institute of Management Strategy, Petre Mamradze, in an interview with a correspondent of Vestnik Kavkaza admitted that he didn't hear anything significant in the speech of the president. "There were only platitudes. I'm sure that there are no specific important elements in it. However, I would draw attention to the formation of the judicial system and the need for the independence of the board of prosecutors," Mamradze said.
In this regard, the expert does not expect that Margvelashvili's speech will affect the political and economic life in Georgia. "Margvelashvili has no authority today and there is no corresponding mood in Georgian society, so we see a certain fixation of the situation," he stressed.
The Georgian political scientist Vakhtang Maisaya praised the President's address to the Parliament. "Margvelashvili very appropriately addressed and correctly put the assessment. I would outline his words that adherence to democratic values should be part of Georgian foreign policy, as well as his words that real reform should be carried out in relation to the Prosecutor's Office and the Interior Ministry. In addition, Margvelashvili for the first time gave a direct assessment of those political prisoners who were freed, saying that they should be fully rehabilitated," he listed the key points of the speech.
According to him, the content of the speech indicates a temporary truce in the relations between the government and the president. "The president significantly raised his status with this speech," the expert said.