President Giorgi Margvelashvili said “it would be appropriate” if he, as head of the state, puts his name to the Association Agreement with the EU next month instead of the Prime Minister.
He said “consultations” will continue about who will sign it, but also added that important is the fact of signing this agreement itself and not who will sign it.
Who should sign the agreement has been an issue of discussion recently mainly in the context of ongoing speculation about President Margvelashvili and PM Irakli Garibashvili being at odds with each other, which has been rife especially after ex-PM Bidzina Ivanishvili publicly criticized Margvelashvili.
Although PM Garibashvili himself did not respond directly when asked last week who will sign the agreement, saying that that “Georgia will sign” it, some officials, including the state minister for Euro-Atlantic integration issues, Alexi Petriashvili, said that the PM will be signing the agreement on June 27 in Brussels.
Asked during an interview with Tbilisi-based Imedi TV on May 20 who will sign the Association Agreement, President Margvelashvili responded: “I share the opinion that the President should sign it.”
“But there is also one important constitutional clause according to which the President has the right to sign [international treaties] upon agreement with the government. This is a very important agreement and its signature is of strategic [importance] for Georgia, therefore consultations will definitely be held about it [who will sign it],” the President said.
“Important is that Georgia will sign this agreement and it is not really a matter of principle for me and I will not dispute if some other authorized person signs it, but I think that the President should sign it because the agreement involves issues that should be carried out in executive, legislative and judicial authorities; therefore I think that it would be appropriate if the head of the state signs it, although it will also be legitimate if other official signs it,” Margvelashvili said.
Asked about his relations with PM Garibashvili, President Margvelashvili responded: “We have a working relationship with the government.”
He said that describing these relations as “confrontation” is “exaggeration”.
Margvelashvili said that last week, when he met Garibashvili over dinner, they talked about having “more intensive and coordinated relations.”