Georgia: Mixed Reactions over Armenia Protests
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 24 Apr.'18 / 16:01

The resignation of Prime Minister Serzh Sargsyan has caused a reticent debate in Tbilisi, with politicians and experts expressing mixed messages over the developments, as well as on its possible consequences for regional politics and for the Armenian-Georgian relations.

The ruling Georgian Dream party lawmakers and officials have remained silent ever since the opposition protests erupted in the Armenian capital, except Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili, who congratulated his counterpart on election in a brief twitter post on April 17.

MP Gia Volski, who was the first and the only ruling party representative to have broken silence, told journalists yesterday evening that peace and stability was “crucial” in the neighborhood. 

“The issue is important not only because Georgia has good-neighborly relations with Armenia, but also because this is in the pragmatic interests of stability. I hope, the opposing sides will find a common ground, and the potential that exists in the Parliament and in the political groups will be used for that purpose,” he added.

MP Sergi Kapanadze of the opposition European Georgia said Tbilisi should maintain “good-neighborly relations” with Armenia “under any circumstances.” The lawmaker also criticized PM Kvirikashvili’s April 17 statement, calling it “hasty.” 

Kapanadze added that the country’s security services, as well as the National Security Council, should be ready to respond to possible threats “if the situation grows into tensions, especially in Karabakh.” 

Ex-President Mikheil Saakashvili, who serves as the honorary chairman of the opposition United National Movement, was less subtle in his remarks, saying the developments in Armenia was “very important, a historic development.” 

“This is a rebellion against Russia; I have been communicating with many Armenians and they are tired of the fact that Russia has taken over everything [in Armenia],” he said, adding that the protests also demonstrated that “the will of the people is always supreme, and that the people will always manage to defeat oligarchies.”

“For Georgia, this is of huge importance … Georgia, the Georgian people will reclaim its voice and its freedom, and no money, no tricks … no Russian support, no propaganda will deter the sovereign will of the people to live a normal live and be free from this disgusting pressure of oligarchs, banks and other robbers,” he also noted.

The Republican Party, which issued a statement shortly before Sargsyan’s resignation, said it was “closely” watching the developments in Armenia, calling the process a democratic struggle “for European values and future, which Georgia should support through sharing its experience, exchanging ideas and through civic dialogue.”

“The Republican Party acknowledges that the processes in Yerevan are related to neutralization of Russia’s destructive influence in Armenia and the entire region, peaceful resolution of territorial conflicts without Russian participation and equal engagement and responsibility over long-term regional security,” the party also wrote.

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