Georgian parliament speaker Shalva Papuashvili on Tuesday claimed despite his country’s “best efforts” to get into NATO and the EU, “we never get the deserved reciprocal steps from the West”, in comments on prime minister Irakli Garibashvili’s remarks at the Bratislava Security Forum on Tuesday that said Ukraine’s will to join NATO had sparked its ongoing conflict with Russia.
In his tweet, Papuashvili slammed the PM’s critics who had accused him of being “pro-Russian” and claimed the remarks had caused “different and largely mistaken or deliberately distorted interpretations”.
Pointing to Georgia’s three conflicts with Russia since gaining its independence in early 1990s and its contribution to NATO peace missions in Afghanistan, Papuashvili said “Georgia has the right to have a say when it comes to regional and international security and the PM’s words should be understood properly”.
The official also said Tbilisi pursued its “strategic patience” policy on Russia that he said had been agreed upon with partners, amid the Kremlin’s occupation of 20 percent of Georgian territories and absence of any international security umbrella.
Papuashvili also said unlike its approach to the Russia-Ukraine conflict, the west did not impose sanctions on Russia for its invasion of Georgia in 2008 and maintained and boosted its economic and trade cooperation with Moscow.
“With all this in mind, we should call a spade a spade and tell our western partners that instead of undue criticism it is time that they help us to overcome our security predicament and get the well-deserved membership in NATO and the EU. For over 15 years now, the ball has been in the Western side, on both EU and NATO courts”, Papuashvili said.