Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili, March 14, 2018. Photo: gov.ge
“Many things might be unacceptable in Moscow’s response, but one thing must be pointed out: it leaves room for dialogue, and we need to do everything so that such space is established,” Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili said at the Government session today.
PM Kvirikashvili’s statement follows the criticism of the opposition parties and the civil society organizations that his March 9 appeal to Moscow, and the subsequent response from the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs weakened the country’s positions.
“Over the last few days, I have heard numerous absurd assessments of my statement,” the Prime Minister noted, adding that “every single step” of the government served the country’s interests. “When our country needs it, and when it’s about preventing serious provocations, and maintaining stability in the country, we the politicians must do everything in our power to defuse tension, regardless of its consequences on our image,” PM Kvirikashvili noted.
“We have the Geneva International Discussions, and we must take steps within this format to achieve at least minimal progress. This small progress is the source of Georgia’s stability, and if there is anything our country needs most in this volatile world, it is the ability to live in stable environment,” he added.
PM Kvirikashvili’s statement was clarified by Foreign Minister Mikheil Janelidze, who stressed the government held the Geneva International Discussions (GID) “in high regard,” and deemed possible “to find new avenues” within the format.
“The government’s position remains constructive, and is aimed at finding ways for peaceful resolution of the Georgian-Russian conflict, and we will continue participating in the GID based on this principle,” Janelidze said. “Our approach is to find a way out of the difficult, deadlock situation, and if higher-level political engagement is necessary for that, and we consider that higher-level political engagement will enable us to take further steps, we have expressed our readiness to do so,” he added.
“This does not mean that the Prime Minister will attend the next round of the GID, the next round will be held in the same format as previously, but our purpose is to lay ground at this and next rounds for taking steps for peaceful conflict resolution,” FM Janelidze noted.
The Foreign Minister commented on PM Kvirikashvili’s “direct dialogue” proposal with “the Abkhaz and the South Ossetians,” saying such dialogue had been ongoing since 1990s. “Our objective is to make this dialogue more active and more result-oriented, so that we manage to reconcile and reunite the societies divided by the occupation line, and heal the pains that our society has suffered,” he said.