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TBILISI, October 2 (Itar-Tass) —— Leader of the opposition coalition Georgian Dream Bidzina Ivanishvili believes that “it will be difficult, but not impossible” to combine the process for the improvement of Russian-Georgian relations with Georgia’s intentions to enter NATO.
He told a press conference in Tbilisi on Tuesday that the strategy of his team “is a striving towards Europe in terms of security – the NATO membership and the restoration of the territorial integrity of Georgia.” “This strategy remains unchanged,” he said.
“A possible membership of Georgia in NATO is a decision taken by the Georgian people, and a referendum was held on this issue in the country (77% of voters in the referendum voted for Georgia’s membership in NATO in January 2008 – Itar-Tass), and my attitude is the same,” Ivanishvili said.
Meanwhile, “this makes an important part of the strategy, a high commitment and a big wish is to improve the relations with Russia, which is the largest Georgian neighbour,” he said. “I understand well the current contradictions, I realize well that this is quite difficult and not easy, but I am aware that this is not impossible,” Ivanishvili commented on the possibility to improve the relations with Russia.
Russia’s position over Georgia’s intention to join NATO “was highly stirred up and worsened by Mikhail Saakashvili, who was waving with the intentions to join NATO as a red flag in front of a bull.”
“In the geopolitical aspect for Russia Georgia’s membership in NATO is not interesting today, but I do not believe that this is a matter of principle for Russia,” Ivanishvili said. He voiced confidence that “Russia can be convinced that Georgia’s accession in NATO will pose any danger to Russia with the right diplomacy, correct analysis and in the right time, and this should not be of paramount importance for Moscow.”