He pointed out that Russia aimed to redraw the boundaries of Europe, which was exemplified not only by the occupation of Crimea, but also by the so-called illegal “treaties on alliance and integration”, which Russia had signed with the occupied regions of Georgia – Abkhazia and the Tskhinvali region (South Ossetia).
“Russia accuses others of what it is guilty of itself. Russia’s revanchist policy has destroyed trust and all prospects for meaningful cooperation in the short and medium term,” said the foreign minister at the conference Georgia: Europe’s New Geopolitical Landscape: Security, Economic Opportunity, Freedom and Human Dignity for the Frontline States.
During the conference, Lithuania’s foreign minister took part in a debate with the Senior Director for Human Rights and Democracy at the McCain Institute for International Leadership David J. Kramer and participants of the conference: leaders of Georgia, members of the Government and representatives of the opposition, former European Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy Stefan Fule, Lithuanian Ambassador Žygimantas Pavilionis who coordinates Eastern Partnership issues.
According to Linkevičius, the West seeks to create a single and free Europe with strong, sovereign and flourishing states in the EU’s neighbourhood, and that is exactly why the Eastern Partnership initiative was launched.
“However, Russia’s goals are based on geopolitical considerations to expand its sphere of influence, thus Western attempts to please and appease Russia only further encourage it to have the brass to do what it does,” said Linkevičius.
When looking for solutions for the future, the minister stressed that the only sensible strategy was to maintain patience, perseverance and consistency.
“If we are seeking success, we must stick to our principles and policies. Weakness encourages aggression. Therefore, it is particularly important for Georgia and other Eastern Partnership countries to implement the reforms that were suggested by the EU and to continue on the path of their own choice. This will strengthen the partner countries, their independence and will increase public resistance, will help to diversify trade, develop transport networks and energy links,” said the foreign minister.
The McCain Institute for International Leadership, in partnership with the Economic Policy Research Centre, hosts the international conference on 7-8 September in Tbilisi.