"Not with Russia" - Georgian Foreign Ministry against Turkey's idea of creating 3+3 regional format
Georgia refuses Erdogan’s 3 + 3 format
On October 9, the Georgian Foreign Ministry unambiguously refused the possibility of the country’s participation in the 3 + 3 regional political format proposed by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan as a way to strengthen stability in the Caucasus after the second Karabakh war.
Tbilisi will not consider the possibility of participating in any formats that include Russia until it ends the occupation of the regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia and returns to recognizing the territorial integrity of Georgia, the country’s Foreign Ministry said.
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The format proposed by President Erdogan provides for the creation of a platform with the participation of six countries – Turkey, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Georgia, Russia and Iran. Participating on an equal footing, representatives of the six governments could quickly and efficiently resolve all important issues in the region, from peace to the development of trade and transit opportunities.
On the eve of October 8, Georgian Foreign Minister David Zalkaliani proposed a slightly different interpretation of the issue during an interview with the Public TV Channel.
“Georgia should at least in some form participate in the 3 + 3 platform, so as not to lose its position in the region, despite the fact that it will be very difficult to cooperate with Russia. Although, of course, the sovereignty and territorial integrity of our country is the red line”, the minister said.
Former US Ambassador to Georgia Ian Kelly immediately responded to these words with criticism and wrote on his Twitter: “Very hard`”? Russia invaded and occupied you. Your friends would rather hear you say “impossible”.
The Georgian Foreign Ministry said today that the minister’s comment was misinterpreted, and in fact, Zalkaliani did not say that Georgia would take part in such a format.
The first time Tbilisi refused to participate in the 3 + 3 initiative was when the Turkish president first came up with the idea in December 2020, shortly after the end of the second Karabakh war.
Then Recep Tayyip Erdogan reiterated this initiative in June 2021 during his visit to Azerbaijan. “All countries of the region, including Armenia, as well as the whole world will benefit if peace and tranquility are achieved in the Caucasus”, Erdogan said.
Refusing to participate in the platform, the Georgian Foreign Ministry said that the country nevertheless plays an important role in the region, and this includes participation in strategically important projects to create links between Asia and Europe.
For Georgia, projects that contribute to its economic and political independence are important, the Foreign Ministry said.
It is also reported that the Prime Minister of Georgia presented to the UN General Assembly a new initiative of peaceful neighborhood, based on the principles of mutual respect and equality.