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Georgia PM Says Country Remains On Pro-Western Path

  • RFE/RL

Georgia's prime minister has said his country's path toward integration with Europe is irreversible.

Irakly Garibashvili met EU and NATO officials in Brussels on November 17 amid rising concerns over the country's pro-Western course.

Earlier this month, Garibashvili dismissed Defense Minister Irakly Alasania who had condemned the arrests of several military officers as an "attack on Georgia's Euro-Atlantic choice."

Alasania's dismissal sparked the resignation of Georgia's foreign minister and the walkout of one of the six parties in the ruling coalition.

In Brussels, Garibashvili said he wanted to use the "transformative power of the European integration process" to make his country a regional success story.

EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini told him Georgia needs to strengthen the rule of law in Georgia.

"Political retribution, confrontation and polarization should be avoided," Mogherini said.

Garibashvili's opponents accuse him of using the justice system to persecute political opponents.

Georgia and the EU signed a trade and cooperation agreement in June.

Garibashvili also held talks at NATO headquarters with Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg.

The NATO chief said Garibashvili had reassured him Georgia was "continuing on its path towards more Euro-Atlantic integration."

At a summit in September, NATO leaders agreed a package of measures to help Georgia prepare for eventual membership.

As part of that package, Stoltenberg said Georgia will host a new NATO-Georgia Training Center that will help Georgian forces hone their ability to work with NATO.

Georgia's desire to join NATO has angered the Kremlin.

Georgia and Russia fought a short war in 2008, the aftermath of which was two breakaway Georgian provinces, Abkhazia and South Ossetia, declaring independence with Russian backing.

Moscow has proposed a new treaty with Abkhazia, which is viewed in Tbilisi as a step towards full Russian annexation.

In Brussels, Garibashvili voiced deep concern at Russia's proposal, and Mogherini said the EU would raise the issue in contacts with Moscow.

With reporting by dpa and Reuters