TBILISI(Sputnik) – Georgia’s newly-appointed Foreign Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili plans to stick to a pragmatic policy towards Russia and continue seeking NATO membership.
"Georgia’s foreign policy priorities, naturally, remain the same as they are defined not by the desire of any government, but by the free will of the Georgian population," Kvirikashvili said on Wednesday.
On Monday, Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili replaced foreign minister Tamar Beruchashvili with the country’s economy minister Kvirikashvili.
Kvirikashvili said on Wednesday that Georgia "will continue along its path of euro integration and NATO membership" and will "maintain a pragmatic policy with Russia."
Institutional cooperation between Georgia and NATO began in 1994, when Georgia became a member of NATO's Partnership for Peace program. The country's cooperation with the organization intensified in 2004 after the Rose Revolution which led to President Eduard Shevardnadze’s forced resignation.
Russia has expressed concern over NATO’s intensified military presence in Eastern Europe warning that it could be a threat to regional security. According to the Russian Foreign Ministry, the opening of a NATO training center in Georgia is a provocative move aimed at expanding the alliance’s geopolitical influence.