Op-ed: how can PM Garibashvili's statements about Ukraine affect Georgia?
PM Garibashvili’s statements about Ukraine
He also said that his visit to Ukraine “will not achieve anything” and that he did not plans of going there. Garibashvili also stressed that Georgia would not join the international anti-Russian sanctions.
“Georgia is not going to take part in financial and economic sanctions, as this will cause even more harm to our country and our population. Therefore, as a person responsible person for the people of our country and the head of government, I will be guided only by the interests of our country”, Garibashvili said.
JAMnews asked several experts how the remarks of the country’s Prime Minister’s remarks could affect Georgia’s relations with the West:
Gia Nodia, Ph.d. in Political Science, Professor at Ilia University: “If we look at Georgia on an international scale, this statement once again proves that it [the country] does not have a firm position, it is not a reliable partner and it does not have a worthy position – this is the main message and the main conclusion that can be drawn from this message.
I do not think that the West now has time [to process] this statement and attach great importance to it, but they will definitely note how Georgia behaved.
I do not rule out that this statement may be a response to yesterday’s big rally and statements made by various people in solidarity with Ukraine. It seems that Bidzina Ivanishvili (the leader of the ruling party) decided that it was dangerous, we have already irritated Russia too much, and he felt the need to refute all this, balance it and force Garibashvili to make such a statement.
I don’t think anything can be done about the government. Now the activity of the society is important – we must show that yes, we have such a government, but the Georgian society thinks differently. This must be preserved in historical memory”.
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Valery Chechelashvili, researcher at the Rondeli Foundation: “Our constitution, adopted by the constitutional majority of the Georgian Dream party, explicitly states that our external priority is to become an integral part of the Euro-Atlantic space by joining NATO and the European Union. I think that Garibashvili’s statement, which he explained by national interests, not only does not reflect our strategic and tactical interests, but also contradicts constitutional norms.
We have obligations to our strategic partners, the United States, the European Union, NATO, who have invested heavily in the development of Georgia. Therefore, we need to position ourselves very clearly in the system of international relations. There is always time for this, and especially today.
We have not had very good relations with the West lately – the withdrawal from the Charles Michel agreement, the form in which this happened, the constant attacks of some politicians on Western diplomats – US Ambassador Kelly Degnan, EU Ambassador Karl Harzel, etc. Against this background, it is difficult expect partners to offer us help in critical situations, and this help may turn out to be decisive at if the critical moment arises.
Everyone has the right to make a mistake and should have the right to correct it. I don’t know if it was a mistake, I want to think that it was not a balanced statement at the time and in those circumstances, and if so, then this statement should be followed by clarification and correction. This was an ill-considered statement, there are appropriate diplomatic methods and techniques that can be used at such moments. And oreign Minister David Zalkaliani would be the most adequate figure to do this”.
Gia Khukhashvili, political scientist: “Today, when two worlds collided and the front line is very clear, a double game is impossible. Garibashvili’s statement under such conditions can be perceived as a collaborationist and anti-Western line. When you say that you want to live in someone’s house and show how unreliable you are, naturally, they will not have the desire to invite you and consider you as one of their own.
With this inadequacy, Garibashvili will end up in a situation where no one will shake hands with him. But we must remember that he represents Georgia. When in the West they have such an idea about the prime minister of a country and at the same time think that he is liked by the country’s people, naturally, they will not to have anything to do with either such prime minister or such people. That’s the conclusion they will come to.
Today’s statements were disastrous for the future of the country. Whoever chooses between security and freedom loses both. It seems that Garibashvili does not know this”.