Zurab Abashidze, who was appointed to the post in late 2012 when it was set up, told the publication on Friday the country’s ambitions to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) are “not the question of today, or of tomorrow.”
“Why create illusions for people? We are not defended, and this is the reality of this difficult region,” Abashidze said.
The publication went on to say security and economic considerations have driven the Georgian government to incrementally pivot away from a pro-Western course and toward Russia.
Abashidze said Tbilisi’s NATO ambitions were still alive, “but we have to get to that day without destroying the country.”
Georgia’s relations with Russia deteriorated following its 2008 offensive against the breakaway republics of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, leading to the five-day military conflict with Russia.
Both regions declared their independence from Georgia in the early 1990s and were recognized by Russia following the conflict. Tbilisi continues to consider South Ossetia and Abkhazia as occupied territories.