Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia has responded to the criticism voiced by four U.S. lawmakers in the letter addressed to Secretary of State Michael Pompeo and Secretary of Treasury Steven Mnuchin.
The Prime Minister stated that the defeat of the U.S. oil and gas company – Frontera Resources – in an arbitration dispute with the Georgian side was the cause behind penning the letter, and that a single company “could not jeopardize strategic relations between the United States and Georgia.”
They wrote that Georgian government has ties with American hostile rivals and enemies and accused Georgia of “crowding out legitimate American businesses,” citing the examples of Frontera Resources and Conti Group.
Against this backdrop, the Prime Minister underlined the progress achieved by Georgia in terms of NATO integration, noting that “over the past five years, the country has deepened cooperation” in this regard.
He highlighted Georgia’s role in NATO’s Afghan mission, noting that “strategic relations between countries are based on this foundation [military cooperation], rather than on the letters of politically-motivated lobbyists.”
Responding to the allegation that Georgian financial system has been “circumventing American sanctions on Iran” since 2013, the Prime Minister said that “Georgia was the first country who, together with American partners, took extremely grave steps for the country’s economy by imposing sanctions against Iran in 2013.”
In response to the letter claiming that “the port in Batumi has again emerged as a target for Iranian illicit oil activities,” Gakharia said “he had no idea” what the U.S. lawmakers meant by this allegation.