The Estonian newspaper Postimees has released an audio file of part of an interview with Georgian Prime Minister, Lado Gurgenidze, in which he says that Tbilisi would recognize Kosovo.
The move by the newspaper came after officials in Tbilisi accused the Postimees of misinterpreting the PM.
PM Gurgenidze says in the interview that Georgia was currently focused more on its own challenges, but “in due course we of course will recognize Kosovo.” On the journalist’s question: “So, in principal, you are ready to recognize them?” MP Gurgenidze responds: “As all of our friends now.”
The interview, which was conducted by journalist Igor Taro on March 29 in Tallinn and published by the Postimees on April 1, stirred wave of controversy in Georgia, as Tbilisi has earlier announced that it would not recognize Kosovo’s independence.
The news about the interview was broken in Georgia by opposition Republican Party. PM Ivliane Khaindrava convened a news conference on April 3 and said based on the PM’s interview that Tbilisi’s possible recognition of Kosovo would have negative consequences for Georgia itself.
After that press conference, a spokesman for the Georgian PM came out and said that the PM “was misinterpreted” by the journalist.
Later on the same day the debate about the issue continued at a late-night political talk show, Primetime, aired by Rustavi 2 TV, in which a ruling party lawmaker, Givi Targamadze, also said that the Georgian PM was misinterpreted and even said: “I do not think that level [of professionalism] of journalists in Estonia is high. He was misinterpreted.”
In the same TV talk show Temur Iakobashvili, the state minister for reintegration issues, noted: “As far as I know PM Gurgenidze does not speak Estonian” – alluding that the PM’s remarks were mistranslated.
“There was no misinterpretation,” Igor Taro, a special correspondent of the Postimees, told Civil.Ge in a phone on April 4, “and I have the audio recording [of the interview], which we are planning to distribute.”