TBILISI -- In her annual state of the nation address, Georgian President Salome Zurabishvili has said Moscow's policies will not divert her country from its path toward the European Union and NATO.
“If Russia plans to use the occupation of Georgia's territories...to force Georgia to renounce its aspirations, that kind of goal will never be achieved,” Zurabishvili said on March 4 in her second such address to parliament.
Moscow has been keeping its troops in Georgia's breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia since it recognized their independence following a five-day Russian-Georgian war in August 2008. The majority of the world's countries consider Abkhazia and South Ossetia as Georgian territories.
In her speech, Zurabishvili reiterated her country's goal of eventually joining EU and NATO, saying: “Along with our membership, our objective is to be, even today, a more active player in the EU and NATO."
Zurabishvili also said that the bipartisan Georgia Support Act adopted by the U.S. Congress in 2019 was another proof of the close ties and trust between the two nations.
The president addressed Georgia’s upcoming parliamentary elections, to be held by October, calling on the opposition and the ruling Georgian Dream party "to continue dialogue."
“For Georgia, the country in a difficult situation with 20 percent of its territory occupied, we must be careful when dealing with political struggles as they might shatter our stability," she said.
Opposition parties have complained that Georgia's electoral system unfairly favors Georgian Dream.
Mass protests held in Tbilisi in June and July last year were violently dispersed.