Georgian PM Upholds “War Blackmail” Narrative, Backs Dissident MPs, Slams Opposition
Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili addressed the “war blackmail” claims, the relations with country’s strategic partners, and spoke of the “radical” opposition while attending a local celebration in the town of Mestia.
PM Garibashvili reiterated on July 29 that against the background of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Georgia went through a “great ordeal” and despite “many attempts, provocations, and direct appeals” the ruling Georgian Dream party managed to avoid involving the country in the war.
“Thanks God, that we have maintained peace and stability for our people [and] our country with our national policy…, so we must continue to manage and advance our country forward calmly, quietly, and firmly,” PM Garibashvili said.
Confrontation with U.S. Ambassador Kelly Degnan and the “Anti-Western Campaign” of Dissident MPs
Asked by journalists about why authorities started to confront the U.S. Ambassador, Kelly Degnan, the PM replied that he attaches “great importance” to relations with strategic partners and will do “the maximum” to further strengthen existing relations with the U.S. and Europe.
“This, of course, is in the interests of our country, this is our main task,” he noted and added that “we are moving towards Europe, this is an irreversible path, everything else, all other speculations are baseless.”
In response to a question about the “anti-Western campaign” started by the four MPs that left the ruling party, PM Garibashvili responded, “we are creating a democratic society” where any citizen, and more so a politician, has the right to ask questions. “This is the standard that our team brought into the country,” he added.
Radical Opposition’s Goal is Not Europe
The Prime Minister also criticized the “radical opposition” for refusing to participate in the working process of implementing the European Commission’s 12 recommendations for the country to obtain EU candidate status.
PM Garibashvili emphasized that despite the constructive steps taken by the government, the opposition is not ready to cooperate with the government, and underscored that the opposition “does not want to receive the status of a candidate.”
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“We understand very well that their real goal is not the European path of our country. The only thing that motivates them is to return to power through violence, which ended in a fiasco and will always end like this… We are a strong government… and we will not allow anyone to bring chaos into the country,” he said.
The PM added that the ruling party is ready for constructive dialogue with the opposition but “we have seen that instead of ending polarization, they are helping to inflame polarization every day.”
“[However] from our side, wahtever depends on us, we will do our best, in the shortest possible time, so that none of our European or American friends will have any questions about us,” the PM stressed.
The PM also drew attention to the report of the U.S. State Department, which states that the National Bank of Georgia and financial institutions are acting in accordance with financial sanctions imposed on Russia by the U.S. and other countries.
“[Regarding] all the speculations and accusations we’ve heard over the past months that sanctions are being circumvented in Georgia, the State Department’s report confirmed that no such thing has happened in the country. We work with maximum transparency and we will continue to do so in the future,” he said.
Regarding the Bichvinta Resort
PM Garibashvili also answered a question about the transfer of a part of the Bichvinta resort in occupied Abkhazia to Russia and said that “Not only Bichvinta but the entire Abkhazia and Tskhinvali is temporarily occupied by Russia.”
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“I urge our politicians not to make too much of a fuss,” he said and blamed the former government for losing the Kodori valley and more than one hundred villages during the 2008 August Russia-Georgia war.
“We, with our reasonable policy, are making sure that peace, tranquility, and stability are maintained in the country, and we, with our equally reasonable policy, will unite our country,” he said.
Possible Return of Bidzina Ivanishvili and the Judicial System
In response to a question about the possible return of Bidzina Ivanishvili, ex-PM and Georgian Dream founder, to politics PM Garibashvili said, “any speculations about his return are speculations, there is no basis for it.”
Assessing concerns expressed about the judiciary in the recent report of the U.S. State Department, PM Garibashvili noted, “our court is one of the outstanding ones in the region. It is ahead of many EU member states in terms of its achievements, accountability, and transparency.”
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