Georgian PM Bidzina Ivanishvili said that in his opinion there “has to be a readiness from Russia too to mend relationships” between the two countries.
Speaking with Georgian journalists in Davos on January 25 before wrapping up his visit to the Swiss resort where he was attending the World Economic Forum, PM Ivanishvili said that he had a very brief chat with his Russian counterpart Dmitry Medvedev at one of the receptions.
“We shook hands; I wished him success and he wished me the same; that’s all,” Ivanishvili said when asked about his meeting with Medvedev which was the first such encounter between the two high ranking officials of the two countries since the August 2008 war.
Ivanishvili said that “of course there has to be a continuation” to this brief chat.
“I have a sense that there is a readiness from Russia too to mend relations and if these processes will develop of course meetings are expected and I very much hope that it will be the case,” Ivanishvili said.
“I can make a good, long-term analysis and I can analyze very well opponent’s position. From this point of view it is in Russia’s interest too, like in our interests, to mend relations,” he said.
On the sideline of the World Economic Forum Ivanishvili also attended on Friday a gathering of Russia’s business elite at a breakfast hosted by state-controlled Sberbank.
“It was a very warm meeting,” Ivanishvili said. “When [Sberbank chief executive German] Gref announced that I was present a huge applause followed; I was told – [chief executive of Russian state technology firm Rusnano] Chubais was sitting next to me – that nothing of this kind had happened before. Warm [attitude] and readiness to mend ties between the two countries was really felt there.”
“I was asked there about Georgia being on ninth place in [World Bank’s] ease of doing business [index]; I told them about plus and minus of it and… that investments were not coming into Georgia by being on ninth place and that it is not decisive in this regard and that registration of a company is possible in one day and that one can undergo customs clearance of cargo very fast, as well as other pluses that exist, do not determine anything. The major issue that was not in place in our country – protection of private property, that’s the decisive issue… So I pledged that private property would be unwaveringly protected in Georgia… I told them that we may lose this ninth place, but investments will flow into Georgia because what matters is protection of private property and competitive market,” Ivanishvili said.
On the last day of his stay in Davos, PM Ivanishvili also met on Friday with Swiss President Ueli Maurer, who also holds defense portfolio in the cabinet. Switzerland acts as a mediator between Georgia and Russia since the two countries cut diplomatic relations after the August 2008 war.