Georgia inaugurated a new president on Sunday. 44-year-old philosopher and former university rector Giorgi Margvelashvili has pledged to strengthen the former Soviet republic’s ties with the West and maintain its commitment to NATO, Euronews reports.

His inauguration brings to an end the near decade-long presidency of Mikhail Saakashvili, who aligned the Black Sea nation with the United States and put it on the path towards integration with the European Union.

During his inauguration speech Margvelashvili promised to serve the interests of every Georgian.

“As president, I will serve each of you. For every Georgian citizen I will be a guarantee of defending their rights. Despite different political views, we are united in one aim – a peaceful, united, democratic and developed Georgia,” Margvelashvili said.