Secretary of National Security Council, Giga Bokeria, said that PM Ivanishvili’s remarks on Eurasian Union were among many of government’s steps which create “serious problems” to Georgia’s sovereignty and security.
“Many steps undertaken by him and his team create threat to Georgia’s sovereignty, security and independence. The most recent example of that is a scandalous statement by PM Ivanishvili that he has no clear position about the Eurasian Union. The Eurasian Union is Putin’s instrument against European integration of Russia’s neighboring states and an instrument for undermining their statehood and turning these states into Russia’s satellites. It is very alarming that the democratically elected government of Georgia has no position over this issue,” Bokeria said.
He also said that the governing team’s “concept” in general that “Georgia should no longer be a problem in relations between Russia and the West in the condition when Russia continues consistent aggression against the Georgian state and its sovereignty, is very dangerous for our national interests.”
Asked during a press conference on September 4 what he thinks about the Eurasian Union, the 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.”
Commenting on PM Ivanishvili’s remarks, Georgian Foreign Minister Maia Panjikidze said on September 4, that the PM declared for multiple times, most recently while addressing Georgian diplomats’ annual gathering in Tbilisi on September 2, that “European and Euro-Atlantic integration is a cornerstone” of Georgia’s foreign policy.
“That is our strategy and we are heading in this direction,” Panjikidze said.
She suggested that Ivanishvili’s remarks implied following developments surrounding the Eurasian Union without making any far-reaching conclusions.
“Mr. Ivanishvili said that we are watching and studying the Eurasian Union; not only we, but the entire world is doing it… It is very interesting how things will develop; for example what the relations of [the Eurasian Union] will be with the World Trade Organization and the European Union. EU is also following developments closely and there might be many common issues as trade and economy represent global matters,” Panjikidze said.
During a parliamentary session on September 4, lawmakers from President Saakashvili’s UNM party also criticized PM Ivanishvili’s remarks, calling it “reversal” from Georgia’s foreign policy priorities.
After UNM MP Giorgi Gabashvili said he hoped the PM “lied and I hope the Georgian government in fact is not studying this option; I hope it was yet another coquetry towards Russia and it’s not a serious political intention,” parliament speaker and one of GD leaders, Davit Usupashvili, responded that he was right and added: “Yes, that is the case.”