PM Irakli Garibashvili said Russia’s plan to suspend free trade agreement with Georgia is “not a tragedy”.
“We will have consultations over this issue. Yesterday I spoke with my special representative [for relations with Russia] and will have talks with the Russian side and I think we will agree. Anyway, I want to say that this is not something tragic, a big tragedy. We will have talks and comment later on it,” PM Garibashvili said.
Garibashvili made the remarks while speaking with journalists after attending military drills at Vaziani outside Tbilisi, which involved 17 T-72 battle tanks, 2 ground attack aircraft Su-25 and artillery systems.
Defense Minister Irakli Alasania told journalists at the Vaziani firing range that Russia’s decision is a response to Georgia’s signature of the deep and comprehensive free trade area with the EU.
“I do not see a tragedy in this. We will be guided by WTO rules [in bilateral trade] – both [Georgia and Russia] are members of WTO… We should focus on new markets [in EU],” Alasania said, adding that he does not think Georgia will suffer a huge financial loss as a result of Moscow’s decision to scrap free trade agreement with Tbilisi.
State minister for European and Euro-Atlantic integration, Alexi Petriashvili, said that there is no need to “dramatize” Russia’s decision.