Georgian PM on Russia: We do not see any signs of complication


In an interview given to CNBC shortly after signing the Association Agreement with the European Union on 27 June, Prime Minister of Georgia was asked about the importance of the agreement for Georgia and threats coming from Russia.

As Garibashvili said, the association agreement "is very important for Georgia and all Georgian citizens. This is a dream that came true. This was a dream of our ancestors and many Georgian generations tried to get closer to Europe." He added that the signing of the association agreement is not a final goal. "This is just a beginning. It's like a master plan of country's modernization, Europeanization," the prime minister said.

As regards threats coming from Russia, in response to a journalist's question whether he expects Russian retaliation Irakli Garibashvili said that Georgia tried to have a constructive policy with Russia since the Georgian Dream coalition came to power in 2012. "We made a lot of efforts to defuse the tension with them. Russia also showed constructive policy towards us. I think it worked well. Russia promised that it would not interfere with the Georgia's association agreement process with Europe and they did it. Therefore so far we do not see any signs of complication of this process," he said.

When asked how concerned he is when he hears reports of the deputy foreign minister in Russia threatening Ukraine with grave consequences as a result of their decision to sign the agreement, Georgian prime minister expressed confidence that the Ukrainian president "will find a way, will find a solution, will find a dialogue with Russia so that they will find a solution out of this crisis."

To the CNBC journalist's inquiry whether he thinks the Western governments are putting enough pressure on Russia proceeding from Georgia's own experience with a Crimea style situation, Garibashvili said that there is "a different situation in Georgia today."

"We have showed that we would like to normalize relations with Russia although we stay very principled, we still have the main problem which is our dispute over the occupied regions. But so far, we do not see any signs of difficulties and complications because we are conducting a very constructive policy towards all neighboring countries including Russia. I have to make very clear again that Georgia's European integration process became irreversible but it does not conflict with our aspiration to have normal relations with our neighboring countries including Russia," said Garibashvili.

Noting that the prime minister may be very positive but given the situation in Ukraine the West is concerned that Russia is not doing enough to diffuse tensions, the CNBC journalist asked Garibashvili what more pressure the west should be putting on Russia to stop that.

"Well, I think the dialogue is the only solution out of this crisis," Irakli Garibashvili replied.

To the journalist's remark that the dialogue is not working right now, Garibashvili reiterated that "there is not alternative to dialogue."

When the journalist asked him whether he recommended the Ukrainian president to continue ceasefire despite the fact that the separatist are not abiding by it, Prime Minister Garibashvili said that he did not have a chance to talk about this with the president of Ukraine, however, "I know that they are also seeking solutions. I want to repeat that the dialogue is the only solution for this crisis."

The CNBC journalist also sought Georgian prime minister's opinion about the Russian influence on the separatists in Ukraine because this is what the US and in particular Europe fear today.

"I have to be focused on my country because I have our Georgian way and we proved that our policy works successfully. And look! We have signed the association agreement with the EU today and we made it very clear that we have a very ambitious plan to become a member of the EU," Irakli Garibashvili said.

When asked by the CNBC journalist whether interests of many countries in regards with Russia impede them from taking stronger action to prevent Russian aggression, Irakli Garibashvili said:

"Well again, let me repeat that in every conflict there is no alternative than a peaceful talk. This is the way that Europe has chosen and the way that Ukrainian government has chosen and I think we will find a solution."


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