Giorgi Kvirikashvili has delivered a speech at the Atlantic Council

As part of his working visit to the United States of America, Georgian Vice Prime Minister, Foreign Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili delivered a speech at the Atlantic Council where he spoke about the necessity of Georgia’s Euro-Atlantic integration, Russian aggression and Georgia’s economic development.
“Euro-Atlantic integration has been and firmly remains Georgia’s foreign policy priority. We believe that our national security and lasting regional peace can be achieved only through our strategic partnership with the United States, and through our integration into NATO. We have demonstrated both political and technical readiness for advancing to the next stage of integration with NATO. Now the ball is in the West’s court” - Giorgi Kvirikashvili is quoted as saying.
According to the Minister, Russia’s aggression against Georgia and Ukraine has endangered both security and democratic values in the region. These conflicts do not resolve by themselves without the active political and diplomatic engagement from the West.
„Our relationship with Russia remains our greatest foreign and security challenge. The Georgian Government continuously demonstrated its goodwill to persuade Russia to fulfill the August 2008 agreement and withdraw from Georgia’s occupied territories – Abkhazia and Tskhinvali/South Ossetia. We have been conducting negotiations with Russians in Geneva, as well as talking to them through Prime Minister’s special representative. We also established a visa-free travel regime for Russian citizens. Despite our best efforts, Russians grabbed more territories, erected barbed wire fences, and signed the so-called cooperation agreements with de-facto authorities in Abkhazia and South Ossetia. These “agreements” establish a definitive policy of creeping annexation of these lands by Russia. Despite these provocative actions, Georgian Government remained truthful to strategic patience“ – The Georgian Vice Prime Minister said.
According to Giorgi Kvirikashvili, “neither the Abkhaz, nor the Ossetian minorities gained anything from Russian occupation. Therefore, it is our duty to talk to our Abkhazian and Ossetian brothers to restore trust and seek ways to build a common, democratic and independent state.”
The Georgian Foreign Minister focused on the democratic reforms carried out in Georgia as well. In particular, he spoke about the steps taken towards the reduction of corruption, decentralization of power, independence of the judiciary, penitentiary system reform, human rights protection and elimination of all forms of discrimination.
 In his remarks Giorgi Kvirikashvili extensively spoke about the issues relating to Georgia’s economic development, in particular, the attraction of investments, promotion of economic growth, and development of the private sector. He also referred to the possibility of signing free trade agreements with the U.S. and China offering Georgia an access to new markets.
“Our main goal is to build Georgia into a prosperous country that leverages its geographic location as a regional hub and center perfectly placed to bring Asia and Europe together” – Giorgi Kvirikashvili said.