FM ‘Clarifies’ Remarks on Tit-for-Tat Sanctions Between West and Russia

Georgian Foreign Minister, Maia Panjikidze, had to “clarify” on August 8 her position over tit-for-tat sanctions between the West and Russia after opposition UNM party said that her remarks were directly at odds with the policies of Tbilisi’s Western partners.

Panjikidze said on August 7 that sanctions imposed by the West and Russia against each other is source of concern and not the way out from the crisis over Ukraine.

UNM parliamentary minority leader, MP Davit Bakradze, responded on August 8 that with such remarks it was actually “stated publicly that the Georgian government’s position contradicts the position of our main strategic partners – the United States and EU.”

“According to this statement, sanctions are counterproductive and fruitless and other ways should be found to solve Ukraine’s problem… The Georgian authorities should to make it clear on which side of a watershed it stands – whether it stands with our main partners, Europeans and Americans or it stands on the side of Putin’s Russia,” MP Bakradze said and called on the government to “join sanctions” against Russia.

Foreign Minister, Maia Panjikidze, responded that political opponents were “misinterpreting” her comments and said that sanctions are “not enough for solving the crisis.”

“That’s natural because political opponents are often misinterpreting comments we make, and they always try to accuse us of something that is not true,” she told journalists.

“Responding a question I was asked yesterday about sanctions, I spoke at length about sanctions which are imposed on the one hand by the EU and the U.S. against Russia and Russia’s response to these sanctions – I spoke about this situation and noted that this is not enough for solving the crisis and that fundamental revision of the European security system is needed,” Panjikidze said.

“Our opponents accuse us of not showing solidarity towards Ukraine – I want to strongly deny it. Every statement we make – either ministers or the Prime Minister, is an expression of our huge solidarity towards the Ukrainian people. We always stress that sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine should be protected; we condemn annexation of Crimea; we have active contacts with our Ukrainian colleagues; I have meetings and phone contacts with my Ukrainian counterpart very often; we had number of visits to Ukraine,” the Foreign Minister said.

“So these allegations as if we show lack of support towards Ukraine are utterly false and are used by our opponents to somehow cast a shadow on relationship between the two countries, which is inappropriate for a political party which has sense of responsibility in foreign affairs.”

“Again, we support Ukraine in absolutely everything – its territorial integrity and sovereignty and condemn violation of those international norms through which infringement of country’s territorial integrity and sovereignty is taking place,” Panjikidze said.

“How can Georgia, which has a firsthand experienced from 2008 of what does Russia’s aggression mean and which has always been drawing our international partners’ attention to the need for deeper analysis of what happened [in August, 2008], view developments in Ukraine otherwise,” Panjikidze said.

“Therefore I strongly distance myself from misinterpretation of my remarks. We believe that crisis in Ukraine led to destabilization in the entire region and fundamental revision of the European security system and making proper conclusions are needed,” she added.


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