"An attempt to change the government in Georgia" - the head of the ruling party about the document lobbied by the EU
Georgian Dream against opposition and EU
The head of the Georgian Dream party, Irakli Kobakhidze, called an agreement between the authorities and the opposition signed on April 19, 2021 after months of discussions, and facilitated personally by the President of the European Council, Charles Michel, an “open and rude attempt to change power in Georgia” in Georgia. Kobakhidze said this on the air of the Public Television of Georgia.
The head of the ruling party also noted that it would be better for the US ambassador to Georgia to pay attention to the strict visa policy of the United States.
Asked by a journalist whether the restoration of ties with Russia is expected and whether any new steps will be taken in this direction, Kobakhidze said:
“Our goal is to preserve sovereignty. The aim is, of course, to maintain a policy of non-recognition and adhere to these principles. Our main task is to preserve and strengthen sovereignty and integrity. Of course, this is a very difficult question, but one must keep a firm perspective as far as possible. This is our task, but it is very difficult to achieve tangible progress quickly. Our minimum goal is not to move away from this goal. But it would be better to strengthen it.
Our main goal is to protect the interests of our country and the interests of the people, and not what [the West] requires of us. We will not allow the imposition of sanctions on our own country, the opening of a second front in the country.”
Kobakhidze also responded to a statement by the US ambassador to Georgia, where the ambassador expressed doubts about why air traffic is being restored just when the country must reckon with the EU’s 12 recommendations.
If Kelly Degnan believes that “direct flights with Russia lead to rapprochement with her, then why is this not happening between Georgia and the United States,” Kobakhidze said.
“The situation is as follows: last year’s statistics are on one of the British websites — only 37 percent of Georgian applicants have received visas. There are many cases when a Georgian citizen received a grant for education, everything was ready, but a visa was not issued.
Just in my circle there were two such cases. It is not clear why the young man could not be issued a visa in such circumstances. There are also statistics for neighboring countries. How are things going there? The statistics of positive decisions on issuing visas range from 63 to 88 percent. I don’t know what the logical explanation is. Shouldn’t we also ask for liberalization of the visa policy? How can there be such a tough policy towards the citizens of Georgia? 37 percent in our country and from 63 to 88 percent in neighboring countries — Russia, Armenia, Azerbaijan and Turkey,” Kobakhidze said.
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On May 10, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a document on the abolition of the visa regime for citizens of Georgia and the resumption of direct flights between Russia and Georgia.
An exception to the visa-free regime is “citizens entering the Russian Federation for work or for a period of more than 90 days, including for the purpose of obtaining education.”
The visa regime between Russia and Georgia has been operating unilaterally since 2000, and direct flights have been discontinued since July 2019.