Speaking at a Riga Conference 2013-related luncheon on Sept. 7, Georgian Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili declared that the Baltic States play a major role in Georgia’s road to the European Union and NATO, reports LETA. Their experience and support are invaluable for Georgia to reach its goal of Euro-Atlantic integration, he said.
Ivanishvili also underlined that he is truly pleased that the Baltic States, in their foreign policy, have granted Georgia a significant place, which has a positive influence on mutual cooperation.
“Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia are our trusted friends, and I thank the people of these countries for the support we have received when my country was going through hard times,” the Georgian prime minister stated.
He emphasized that due to its geographic location, Georgia must reckon with “certain external threats;” therefore, becoming “part of the Western security system is of utmost importance.”
Also discussed at the Riga Conference was the hope of several former Soviet republics, which will take part in the Eastern Partnership Summit in Vilnius this fall, that the European Union will appreciate their accomplishments on the path to EU integration.
During the annual security and foreign policy forum Riga Conference 2013 on Sept. 7, Georgian, Moldovan, Belarusian and Ukrainian officials emphasized the importance of the upcoming summit in their countries’ integration into the EU, expressing hope for the EU’s appreciation of reforms carried out by these countries. These countries want to receive a signal that they are just as important to the EU as the EU is important to them.
Georgian Foreign Minister Maia Panjikidze hopes that the EU-Eastern Partnership Agreement will be signed during the upcoming summit and emphasizes that integration in the EU is the goal and desire of the people of Georgia. She believes that the EU-Eastern Partnership is a powerful signal to Russia, indicating that Georgia is an independent country that wants to introduce European values.
Regarding the EU-Eastern Partnership, it is important for Belarus to improve mutual trust, says Belarusian Deputy Foreign Minister Alena Kupchyna. If the goals of Belarus are achieved, they can serve as a basis for deeper cooperation with the EU. Kupchyna also calls on focusing on strategic matters during the Vilnius Summit. She also emphasizes that the EU-Eastern Partnership cannot be based on doubts or suspicions or act as a buffer zone between the EU and Russia.
Ukrainian Deputy Foreign Minister Andrii Olefirov said that it is important for Ukraine to sign the EU-Eastern Partnership Agreement in November. He also emphasizes several reforms carried out by Ukraine in the past few years and explains that Ukraine and Russia have been in cooperation for several years.