Lithuanian formin tells crowd in Tbilisi: I side with a European Georgia

  • 2024-05-16
  • BNS/TBT Staff

TBILISI – Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis reiterated his support for Georgia's European path and emphasized the shared destiny and future of the Baltic and Georgian nations as he addressed thousands of protesters in Tbilisi on Wednesday.

"I want to speak clearly to the people of Georgia, and this includes the government of Georgia, the parliament, the police, the military, teachers, doctors, bakers, people on the streets. I am speaking out because I am on Georgia's side. On the side of a European Georgia," Landsbergis told the crowd in front of the parliament. 

"In a democracy, the government owes it to you, the Georgian people, to follow the direction your moral compass is showing," he added. 

According to Lithuania's top diplomat, although Georgians, Ukrainians, and the people of the Baltic states reject the "post-Soviet" label that is often attached to them, the nations share a similar fate, history, and aspirations.

"During the Rose Revolution of 2003, the Baltic states stood with you. Just five months later, we made it to NATO, and then to the EU, and many of us believed Georgia could quickly move along this path as well," he said. 

Landsbergis said that while Moscow "has little interest in seeing a happy ending to this story" for Georgia, the Baltic states support the Caucasus nation because they share a common goal.

"The people of Georgia, just like the people of Lithuania, believe in a Europe that is whole, free, and at peace," he said.

The minister spoke about the daily loss of lives in Ukraine, the repression faced by Belarusians from the KGB and security forces, and underlined the need to speak out about what the policies of Georgia's current government might mean for the country's European future.

He concluded his speech by saying, "This is why I am asking you: 'Sad mivdivart?!'," which is the Georgian for "Where are you going?"

The crowd replied, "Evropashi!" ("To Europe!")

Landsbergis was joined on the rostrum by his Estonian and Icelandic counterparts. Latvian Foreign Minister Baiba Braze, who is also visiting Tbilisi, did not attend the protest.

The four ministers' visit to the Caucasus country comes after its parliament adopted a controversial "foreign influence" law on Tuesday.