Comment of the Georgian Foreign Ministry’s Official Representative regarding the statement of the Russian Foreign Minister

With respect to the statement made on the 18th of February 2015 by the Russian Foreign Minister regarding Georgia’s integration with NATO and the issues relating to stability in the South Caucasus, the Georgian Foreign Ministry finds it necessary to state the following:
“European and Euro-Atlantic integration represents the country’s foreign policy priority, which is based on the unwavering will and free choice of the majority of the Georgian population.  Georgia’s NATO membership depends on the ongoing dialogue between Georgia and the Alliance and on the decision of its member states. Therefore, third countries can have no influence over this process. Furthermore, the history of NATO enlargement shows that the accession of new members to NATO represents an important factor in the strengthening of security and stability.
Russia itself poses threat to stability in the South Caucasus by ignoring the 12 August 2008 ceasefire agreement, by the systematic militarization of Georgia’s occupied territories and by attempts to annex those territories.
At the Geneva international negotiations, Georgia keeps on raising without result the issue of Russia to reciprocate Georgia’s unilateral non-use of force commitment, undertaken by Georgia twice. By signing the so called ‘treaties’ with the Abkhazian and Tskhinvali occupation regimes, Russia actually brings under its control the illegal military formations of the occupation regimes – a fact that makes Russia’s  non-use of force commitment even more urgent".

18 February 2015