NPR’s Mary Louise Kelly speaks with the president of Georgia, Salome Zourabichvili, concerning the position of girls leaders in peace and safety and her nation’s position on the earth proper now.
MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:
Among the many dignitaries and diplomats, all of the bigwigs who gathered beneath the stained glass of the Nationwide Cathedral for Madeleine Albright’s funeral right here in Washington this week, was the president of Georgia, Salome Zourabichvili. She leads what’s a small nation within the southeastern nook of Europe, a rustic that shares a border with Russia and has a historical past of being invaded by its far-bigger neighbor. Now, I had Zourabichvili in her capital final month. She sat for an interview with us in her places of work on the presidential palace in Tbilisi, and he or she was outspoken each on occasions in her nation and in close by Ukraine. She’s additionally a champion of girls’s rights of feminine leaders on the worldwide stage. So now we have invited her again.
President Zourabichvili, welcome to Washington. I’m glad to talk with you once more.
PRESIDENT SALOME ZOURABICHVILI: Thanks. I am additionally very glad to talk with you.
KELLY: Now, I do know you are right here for a lot of causes however primarily due to Madeleine Albright’s funeral. And I want she have been right here to hitch us in speaking about sturdy feminine leaders as a result of she actually was one. Do you know her?
ZOURABICHVILI: Sure, I did. I did know her in my earlier capabilities. And she or he was extraordinarily selling the ladies management the best way we perceive it. She was additionally very a lot outspoken concerning the rights of these international locations that have been previously within the Soviet Union to have and defend their independence. So we had many issues – and as a refugee that had left a rustic, a totalitarian nation, she additionally understood very properly what human rights and a nation’s rights means. So there have been very many frequent factors.
KELLY: Properly, and what do you suppose the position of girls leaders in battle is? I imply, what do you suppose they create to the desk that’s completely different?
ZOURABICHVILI: I believe that they create a unique perspective. And within the twenty first century, to see a rustic that’s invading one other one is one thing that, to me, seems very anachronic. And I believe that ladies have a extra possibly practical view of what the world can do in fixing conflicts and post-conflict conditions, which is also a vital difficulty.
KELLY: Yeah. I assume we might word that there have been previous sturdy feminine leaders of Russia who’ve additionally invaded. Catherine the Nice (laughter) would come to many Ukrainians’ minds.
ZOURABICHVILI: (Laughter) That is true. What’s vital just isn’t the very fact of being a feminine chief. it is whether or not we carry to the completely different points that we’re coping with a unique perspective. And that was actually not the case of Catherine the Nice or of a number of the previous girls leaders.
KELLY: Properly, talking of feminine leaders, you held conferences as we speak on Capitol Hill, together with with Speaker of the Home Nancy Pelosi.
ZOURABICHVILI: One other lady chief, sure.
KELLY: Certainly. What’s it you need American lawmakers – Pelosi and others – to learn about your nation, about its place on the earth proper now?
ZOURABICHVILI: Properly, I’ve a quite simple message right here in Washington, which is that we perceive, and we’re in full solidarity with Ukraine. We would like the utmost assist of the US for Ukraine as a result of Ukraine ought to win. And I’m glad to be right here as we speak in Washington, the day when President Biden proclaims the $33 billion assist to Ukraine. And I believe that it is a very proper and well timed choice.
However what I wish to convey is that it is vital that whereas coping with the Ukraine difficulty, whereas serving to Ukraine to win, it is vital to not overlook two different international locations, Moldova and Georgia, which are the 2 different affiliate international locations to the European Union which are there at very delicate locations – one within the Caucasus, the opposite one near the Ukraine battle area – and that these two international locations are the 2 international locations that aren’t protected by both the NATO Article 5 or by the European Union direct solidarity, no less than as but. So at the moment, I believe it is essential that the assist of the US is outspoken to each our international locations. Moldova has – and I simply talked to Maia Sandu a number of hours earlier than. Their drawback is…
KELLY: The feminine president of Moldova, your counterpart there.
ZOURABICHVILI: Sure. We’d like our companions to be outspoken of their assist to our positions. We aren’t at battle. We don’t intend to be at battle. However we must be on the map.
KELLY: One of many ways in which battle in Ukraine is already impacting your nation is refugees. Georgia is internet hosting tens of hundreds of refugees and extra coming day-after-day, a lot of them girls, the vast majority of them girls. What are you doing to fulfill their wants?
ZOURABICHVILI: We’re providing them every little thing, from internet hosting them to education of the youngsters to medical amenities. And on high of that, they’re very properly acquired as a result of now we have these outdated cultural ties. So they’re, I believe, feeling as a lot as residence as doable, and we wish to make them really feel as a lot as residence as doable.
KELLY: Yeah. Final thing, President Zourabichvili. So most of the predictions for this battle have turned out fallacious, together with the prediction that Russia would win and win actually simply and quick. What are you anticipating as we at the moment are, sadly, into the third month of this battle?
ZOURABICHVILI: I am watching the tragedy of the battle, however on the similar time, the truth that it has actually modified all of the calculus that had been made by everybody, together with by the Russian management, that they might win simply. Then now there’s a second stage the place they thought that they might take over the japanese aspect, no less than, simply, and that is not taking place. So all their predictions have been fallacious, together with on the truth that the West could be disunited. And no one’s disunited, and all people is doing every little thing that they will. And I believe that is the recipe for what I hope will occur – is a Ukrainian victory.
KELLY: Salome Zourabichvili. She is president of Georgia. She’s right here in Washington this week. Madam President, good to see you. Thanks.
ZOURABICHVILI: Thanks very a lot.
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