Georgian Prime Minister, Bidzina Ivanishvili is on damage control after a backlash caused by remarks he made following Armenia’s decision to join Putin’s Eurasian Union over the European Union. When asked two days ago what he thinks about Russia’s initiative to form Eurasian Union PM responded: “I am looking at it with attention and we are studying it. At this stage we have no position at all. If in perspective we see that it is interesting for the strategy of our country, then why not; but at this stage we have no position.” After the stir caused by Armenia’s decision, Ivanishvili’s non-committal words were not well received by some…
Ivanishvili released a statement clarifying his remarks, saying that he’s “surprised by hype commotion” he has declared for “thousands of times” and again reiterated it on September 2 at a meeting with Georgian diplomatic corps in Tbilisi that EU and NATO integration represents “cornerstone” of Georgia’s foreign policy:
“Apparently, there are people who need to hear an explanation of my yesterday’s remarks. Therefore, I reiterate that if the Eurasian Union shows any compatibility with our country’s interests without contradicting the main policy declared by Georgia, we will discuss this issue in the future. And I repeat: Why not?”
The Georgian PM continued:
“Georgia needs to regulate its relations with its neighboring countries and strategic partners alike. As a state, we are obligated to regulate our relations with everyone, including Russia, of course. As for the commotion over this topic, it is only natural that it plays into the hands of certain representatives of the National Movement to manipulate this issue. Constantly creating the image of the enemy only serves their vital interests, so that they may hold back the blame they bear before the country and the people.
I would like to reiterate what has been stated a thousand times before. The country’s main policy, that is, Georgia’s integration into the European Union and Euro-Atlantic institutions has no alternative, and this is the very cornerstone of our policy.”
— Bidzina Ivanishvili (@B_Ivanishvili) September 5, 2013
Russia has been seen as pressuring the former Soviet Republics to deter them from joining the EU–particularly those nations tipped to sign the Association Agreement at the Easter Partnership Summit in November. Russian is currently embroiled in trade battles with Ukraine and Belarus, and this week, announced that Moldova may be next on its blacklist. Speculation for who will side where abounds.
— Dmitri Trenin (@DmitriTrenin) September 4, 2013
Meanwhile, on the Eastern Partnership side of things, ,a wide range of panelists met this week in Brussels to discuss the situation in Georgia after the last parliamentary elections and a month before the planned presidential elections. The issues were analysed especially in the context of the upcoming Eastern Partnership Summit in Vilnius and the probable initiation of the Association Agreement and DCFTA procedures. Read more about the discussion here.