Vice-Speaker: Committed to NATO Path, Georgia to Ponder Additional Security Guarantees

Parliamentary Vice-Speaker Archil Talakvadze said today that while the Georgian authorities and society are united to pursue the path to NATO integration, the government is ready to discuss with international partners additional long-term security guarantees for Georgia. 

Responding to reporters, the senior Georgian Dream lawmaker also stated that “every country in the region is thinking about the conditions of its safety and mutual support [as] Russian Federation invaded Ukraine and hostilities are going on.”

MP Talakvadze’s remarks come as Russian-invaded Ukraine seeks international non-NATO mechanisms to ensure its security, and amid discussions that have emerged recently in Georgia about the feasibility of military neutrality.

The GD MP also decried ex-President Mikheil Saakashvili’s recent claims that Moscow and the Georgian Dream Government could be colluding to declare Georgia a neutral state.

“We have seen many provocative statements by [Saakashvili] and the public has reasoned questions as to whose interests Saakashvili and his steam served,” he said

The Vice-Speaker also seized the opportunity to accuse Saakashvili’s UNM administration of “handing over Georgian territories” to Russia during the 2008 war and undermining European values and human rights in the country.

Neutrality Woes

On March 17, jailed former President Saakashvili spoke of an alleged plot of a “huge provocation” in and along the Russian-occupied Abkhazia and Tskhinvali Region/South Ossetia, which would be blamed on the Georgian opposition outfits. Subsequently, the Russian Government would demand Georgian authorities to declare neutrality, and Tbilisi would be ready to do so, according to Saakashvili’s claims.

Meanwhile, government-critical TV networks have also claimed that pundits affiliated with the Georgian Dream have begun to covertly advocate for neutrality on social media.

In response, GD Executive Secretary, MP Mamuka Mdinaradze retorted today that the United National Movement and the government-critical media are trying to bring the topic of neutrality to the forefront.

He claimed the UNM is “waging a hybrid, information warfare against its own country,” trying to “drag Georgia into war, increase future risks or at the very least, bring severe, irreparable damage to the country’s image, and national and economic interests.”

The development comes as Georgian Dream government has received widespread criticism over its cautious stance and controversial rhetoric amid Russia’s war against Ukraine.

Russia had demanded “security guarantees” from the U.S. and NATO in the lead up to its full-scale invasion into Ukraine on February 24.

As Russia massed its forces along the Ukrainian borders in late 2021, it called on the Allies to among others rescind their pledge that Georgia and Ukraine would eventually become NATO members.

This demand was decried by Tbilisi and Kyiv, and refused by the U.S. and NATO.

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