Georgian Prime Minister comments on current situation in the country after US visit
Garibashvili on the current situation in Georgia
Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili made his first comments on the current situation in the country after returning from the USA.
At Lavrov’s request
According to Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, the abolition of visa regime for Georgian citizens and the restoration of air travel were agreed upon with the government of Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili, while in recent months the ruling Georgian Dream party has claimed that Moscow’s decision was unilateral.
Garibashvili says: “Everything is very simple. First of all, let us recall that the Russian president said that this was his sole decision. And what Lavrov said today is a statement of fact. Of course, the agreement was signed with the Georgian government, consent was obtained.”
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On EU candidate status
“My message is unambiguous and simple: the country deserves candidate status given the reforms it has undertaken, the progress it has made and the difficult geopolitical situation. I told them that clearly. Otherwise, I told them, it will be another strategic mistake of the EU and unfair treatment of our country and people.”
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On the coup attempt
“The fact that certain radical groups are destabilizing the situation, organizing riots, sowing chaos and trying to do so is not news. I am referring to former President Saakashvili and his attempts to organize some kind of unrest in Georgia with the involvement of radical, anarchist groups.
We will not allow any unrest to be introduced into the country by non-citizens and enemies of the country – enemies acting inside or outside the country. Everyone will be punished in an exemplary manner, remember this well. Of course, the SBU and our intelligence services are monitoring the situation, willful violations will be noticed, we will react very harshly.”
On September 18, 2023, the Georgian State Security Service published a statement mentioning that there are plans to repeat the scenario of the Ukrainian Euromaidan and forcibly change the government in Georgia.
The authors of the plan are named as Giorgi Lortkipanidze, deputy head of Ukrainian military intelligence, who was deputy interior minister under Saakashvili’s government; Mikhail Baturin, former security guard of former President Mikheil Saakashvili; and Mamuka Mamulashvili, a member of Saakashvili’s inner circle and commander of the Georgian Legion in Ukraine.
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On impeachment of the President of Georgia
Garibashvili also commented on President Salome Zurabishvili’s visits to Europe made “without the permission” of the government. The Prime Minister regards Zurabishvili’s statements to Georgia as sabotage:
“I think this is a very sad fact. There were no cases before that we refused her such visits. On the contrary, I have always supported her.
But again, the President made very serious statements. She has publicly stated that our government is not implementing the 12 EU recommendations. She also said that we don’t deserve candidate status. After that, what minimal trust remained between us was lost. It was directly against the national interest of our country. And that is what dictated our refusal. Our interest was and is that Georgia gets the status of a candidate for EU accession. Any statements and actions against this are sabotage”.
On September 27, Georgian President Salome Zurabishvili met with Lithuanian President Gitanas Naudeda in Vilnius.
On September 26, Zurabishvili met with Latvian President Edgars Rinkevich in Riga.
On September 25, Zurabishvili met with Estonian President Alar Karis in Tallinn.
According to the Georgian presidential administration, Zurabishvili continues to meet with European leaders to support Georgia’s EU candidate status.