Foreign policy of Georgia – if the flow or against the flow (Nino Burjanadze speech)

Posted by globalresearcheng on Aug 18th, 2013 and filed under Conferences. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

Nana Devdariani: Generally it is unusual a Presidential Candidate making a report at a workshop and thus, I would like to thank Mrs. Nino Burjanadze that she found time during this pre-election campaign period.

Nino Burjanadze: Thank you very much. In consideration of the audience attending this workshop, I would like to say very shortly, in the form of a thesis, what I regard important. In the first place, I want to underline that I mostly agree with what Mr. Tengo said. in this case I listened it as a lecturer to a student. As he concluded his speech with the importance of the field of education, I consider making comment on it necessary.

One of the most important that shall be included not only in a program of a presidential candidate but also in his/her priorities, what shall be most important is the educational field.

Frankly speaking, I do not think that this issue can be resolved only through distributing free textbooks. The most important priority for us should be the content of those textbooks. We all agree that distributing these textbooks free is important but I would still say that free textbooks should be given only to those children who are in need of this.

Level of education is important, including during implementation of foreign priorities as long as playing on patriotic feelings is easy. The emotion what Tengo mentioned in his speech: becoming bold with the hope to enter NATO, this emotion is easier to be triggered in sincere, patriot. though less educated people. However, it is more difficult with educated people, who will have many questions.

I think, the ruling political power in our country transformed the educational system so that not to be raised educated generation as they did it in regard with elimination of social stratum with average income. Let’s take a Law on Plea Bargain as an example, which literally destroyed half of the population of Georgia. However, frankly speaking, I was one of the happiest persons when we were approving this law as it is one of the civilized, human laws that the Parliament may approve but use of this law is another issue. I could not really imagine that this law would be used for terrorizing hundreds and thousands of families. My opinion in regard with this law was that we had to approve it. I could not understand why should we send a person who does not endanger society to prison. On the other hand – it is a sense of responsibility in a person when he/she gives financial commitment to his/her family because of his/her incorrect/illegal action.

If the person thinks soundly, he/she will not commit the same crime or illegal action. How can a state use a noble law for cruel intentions.

As for foreign priorities, I think that asserting that we are not a pro-Russian power and are not planning to make Georgia province of Russia, is unserious….. I can assure you that this will be one of our mottos. We are true pro-Georgian power the main objective of which is implementation of interests of Georgia and considering interests of Georgia in the first place.

It is also understandable that we cannot imagine ourselves on a, let’s say, separate island, which nobody touches. Georgia is not a state out of geopolitical and geostrategic space and we shall consider the reality around us.

We are asked: Do you think that Russia will concede Abkhazia and Ossetia and its interests in Georgia, our answer is that we do not have expected it from Russia and we all understand that Russia is one of the super-states and big players, especially in this region. It will always remain a state that has serious political interests not only in its surrounding region but further regions as well and it will always try to accomplish its interests. It is normal. We don’t need to look at it with history. However, we need to try to make such rational steps that will disable Russia to make such actions that benefit only its interests.

It is, definitely, is not simple though a 1999 OSCE Istanbul summit was mentioned here as an example. I was participating in the negotiation process and attended signing of the Istanbul Declaration. I would never have imagined even one week before that such document would be signed. We thought until the very last moment that it would not be signed, but it did not happen. Georgian diplomacy did a great job then though we don’t think that it’s only our merit. We made wise use of that political moment then. Such approach shall become main rising point of our politics. We should not hit the wall that we know, will destroy us; we need to either find a roundabout or another way.

I reckon that we have quite serious prospectives of relationship with Russia. There are a number of directions where Russian and Georgia interests differ. It is, in the first place, peace in the Caucasus region. I disagree with the people who say that we have to wait a bit longer, Russia will dissolve and and everything will be in its order. When I was in the power Iused to tell them that dissolution of Russia with the form they were dreaming of, would cause such cataclisms throughout the World that may ignite such fire that we will never be able to escape. Thus dissolution of Russia is not in our interest. Russia being stabile and controlling its own territory is in our interest. Chaotic situation is not in our interest.

Chaotic situation and volatility on the Russian border is completely unacceptable in the North Caucasus. One of the important factors, on which negotiation with Russia may be based on, in my opinion, is our common interest of stability in the Caucasus region. In this regard we have quite serious mechanisms of cooperation; I also don’t think that either they will give us or we should give them something as a gift. Diplomacy and negotiations is the process from which we may benefit with serious positive results.

I also differ with the opinion that Russia is interested in opening its market for us; however it is a very important issues and we need to take rational steps in this direction as well. One of the serious issues will be so-called “Eurasian Union” as well. I can tell you that Georgia’s joining this union is not obligatory, while discussing this issue some very interesting details, denoting how economically profitable joining this Union might be for the member states. However, making decision about joining is only up to us.

I would like to point out one thing: We should not equivocally reject either NATO, or Eurasian Union. We need to analyze the situation and consider which organization with and which direction to cooperate and make a decision only after it. You might pay attention to the TV show with Mr. David Paichadze, when he posed a question of neutrality in an intriguing manner. Neutrality is an ideal position for the country like Georgia, if we can achieve neutrality at all. By the way, I had the same position in regard with neutrality when I was a Chairperson of the Parliament of Georgia. Another issue is how much it is possible. Neutrality cannot be a negative postion.

Even in the middle of Europe, let’s take Switzerland and Austria, neutrality was an achievement for them.

I think my position is quite clearin regard with NATO. I would be fine if we were NATO member country and used the chance that the Baltic States used back then. However we lost that chance. This is the fact that we have to accept. We lost this chance several times. First in 1995,  then in 2000 in 2005 and in 2008 as well. I think that it is actually unachievable. We should call everything its name. Today we are facing a choice: either NATO or our lost territories.

NATO is not going to accept us. My major is international law and I am well aware of regulations, documents, international practice and internal negotiations. Nobody is going to accept us in NATO when there is a Russian military base on the territory on 40 min drive from Tbilisi. We have to either refuse it or we do not have the prospective to be accepted to NATO. Besides, Mr. Tengiz Pkhaladze mentioned the issue of borders. The actual circumstance is that we have resolved the border issue only with Turkey. It is a Soviet period border. We have unresolved border issue with Azerbaijan, Armenia, Russia and if a process of serious negotiations does not start and political will to direct this process correctly, we will be in a very disadvantageous position.

As for participation in ISAF type of operations, in my opinion we should be participating but I think we should be receiving not only support but serious dividends for the country as well. In particular, starting from salary: if a US soldier receives $ 10 000, Gerogian soldier should not be receiving $ 700. It should be giving us serious political dividends not only mere statements supporting territorial integrity of Georgia. It is a negotiation process which should be used properly.

I agree with Mr. Ramaz Sakvarelidze on the issue that we have neither internal nor foreign policy. Foreign policy does not exist. The ruling party is repeating the statements of National Movements and. I beg apology, they are doing it in quite untalented manner. I don’t really understand why visits to Brazil, Argentina and Japan are priority. These are not priorities of our country’s foreign policy. Diminishing the number of staff in Ukraine, unresolved fate of negotiations with Kazakstan, Moldova, Azerbaijan and Armenia…. it all means that we do not have foreign policy at all.

Irakli Ubilava: I cannot recall any country where the US Ambassador attends the Security Council sittings.

Nino Burjanadze: When I was in the ruling party it did not happen.

Rusa Mumladze-Avaliani: You are saying that you cannot recall non of the cases?

Nino Burjanadze: When Mr. John Bass was appointed as an Ambassador I was not in power any more. Such things did not happen neither in the period of Mr. Richard Miles or during Shevardnadze’s period.

Irakli Ubilava:In regard with amendments in the Constitution… I remember that these amendments were finally decided when Mr. Norland went to the Parliament….. Can we still talke about independence after such example?

Nino Burjanadze: In my opinion, in the best case this is a restricted sogvreignity, which is quite well-known status in the international law. I canot recall not a single case US Ambassador attending the Security Council sittings when I was in the government. I cannot either remember what was said about May 26 as if FBI representatives were sitting and watching and assessing whether the punitive action was well or badly planned. I want to tell you that the Government was far more independnent during Saakashvili’s period than it is today.

I remember when in many cases Giga Bokeria, Saakashvili objected to the position of the US President when their opinions did not coincide. In regard with “Imedi” TV Mrs. Condolisa Rise called three times and said that it would be better if we opened the TV. I was acting President then. I talked to her twice and tolde her that if would be better if she called Saakashvili personally as my orders were not fulfilled. Neither the Prosecutor’s Office nor the Governors.

Now the representatives of the former government members make statements that the acting government shall not be making legislative amendments without first receiving the Venice Commission conclusion. I remember that in 2010, when the Government made amendments to the Constitution, Mr. Gilauri was in the US in an official visit. He and Mrs. Hillary Clinton were on TV where Mrs. Clinton recommended not to adopt the amendments without prior conclusion from the Venice Commission as there were serious problems in the draft.

Despite this they voted the amendments the next day and adopted it. We had the situation when the Minister of Foreign Affairs during the Russia-Georgia war was the citizen of Russia and he was calling me a Russia’s spy…. Well, he did not dare it then; he started it later.

Question: Shall Georgia resinstate diplomatic relationships with Russia?

Nino Burjanadze: We have to take that course. We cannot and should not restart diplomatic relations. Our steps should be responded with the relevant steps from them. We should not accept anything unconditionally.

Georgia needs modern comprehensive doctrine on national security.

Condition that we inherited from the previous government is alarming for the internal as well as foreign threats of the state.

Revealing the threats the the country is facing, sharply denoting the goals of the country and defining actual mechanisms for achieving these goals is necessary.
In order to ensure the country’s security policy preparation of relevant conceptual base, covering priority strategic interest of the country, principles of international law, relevant transparency of security policy in consideration of legitimit interests of partner and neighbouring countries, coherent implementation of the state policy and provision of relevant staff is necessary. Georgia’s independence and sovereignity is significantly weak currently. The country cannot plan and implement its sovereign policy.

Prestige of the Government of Georgia and the positions of the state as a whole on the international arena have deteriorated. Russia is shifting the conflict zone borders within the territory of Georgia. There is a military presence of a foreign state and quasi-states on the territory of Georgia. Demarcation and delimitation of state frontiers with three neighbouring states have not been implemented yet.
Instead of being formed as an object of international relations system Georgia should be formed as its subject. Our basic principle iun the field of security should become preventive diplomacy. With the purpose of improving the country’s security avanturism in international relations should be inadmissible. Georgia should become a space of generalizing interests of big states instead of becoming a shooting ground for their interests. Deepening relationship with NATO should not be directed towards legitimate interests of a third country; it should be serving to improving to strengthening security in the region. Normalization of relations with Russia is necessary.

Georgia should not encourage threats to Russia’s national security. Georgia should make the existing relationships closer with neighbouring states. Georgia’s actions should be directed towards establishing peace and stability in the region.

Current state of relations with Russia is absolutely unclear; there is no strategy and an “action plan” for normalizing relations. Unresolved steps from the Government in this direction make the fake-impression of warming relationships with Russia while at the same time, a new “border” appears in the middle of our territory.

Initiating a large-scale negotiations with Russia is necessary (including not only about opening their market for Georgia product but on acute issues as well). Seps towards abolishing visa regime with Russia for Georgian citizens should be made. Russian market should be open broadly and in a stabile manner for Georgian product. On its part, optimal usage of Russian market will give significant incentive to the economy of Georgia and development of Business enterprise within the country.

We need to start large-scale negotiations with Russia about restoration our country’s territorial integrity. We need to manage that Russia played positive role in regulation of the conflict with Abkhazia and Ossetia.  It should result in honourable return of IDPs to Abkhazeti and Samachablo. Through carrying out coherent policy we will return Abkhazia and Ossetia; Russia should be assured that Georgia is not the enemy and peace and stability in the Caucasus is the number one priority for Georgia as well.

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