The Foreign Ministry of Georgia has reacted to the news article Foreign Minister Zalkaliani Talks 3+3 Platform. The editorial team is dedicated to accurate reporting, but we reject the premise that the statements should be provided in full and verbatim. It is our considered opinion, having reviewed the piece and the original statement, that the news article in question has conveyed Minister’s statement in a balanced way.
We do, however, publish the communication of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in full, as a letter to editor.
Comments made by the Vice Prime Minister/Foreign Minister, David Zalkaliani on the air of public broadcasting on 7 October, have been paraphrased inaccurately and incompletely by your agency and can thus be open to misinterpretation. Please, provide the reader with accurate information and quotes from the Minister.
More specifically, the section where Minister speaks about Georgia’s participation in 3+3 platform in some way or another may lead the reader into error. Notably, saying that “Georgia, in some form or another, should engage in “major geopolitical projects and relations” (the quote used in the article), the Minister immediately adds that “not at the expense of national interests and concessions to the occupier country. Sovereignty and territorial integrity are “red lines” for the Georgian government” (this phrase is moved to the end of the article, distorting the context and the integrity of the Minister’s message).
In another section of the interview, the Minister says that “in this format, our engagement with the occupier country when we see no process towards de-occupation will be very hard”. Again the article incorrectly conveys the message of the Minister when quoting Zalkaliani as saying that “Tbilisi finds it “very hard” to join the so-called 3+3 platform (involving Russia, Turkey, Iran as well as Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia)“. Missing the main point that Georgia cannot participate in the same format with the occupier country, the article creates the impression that the Minister considers Russia on an equal footing with Turkey and Iran.
Saying that “We must not be lagging behind processes developing in the region and should be involved in new infrastructure projects, that may [otherwise] miss Georgia,” Minister Zalkaliani adds that “here it is very important to adopt an accurate position to avoid damage to the interests of our country”. For some reason, however, the latter phrase is omitted in the article.
We kindly ask you to provide the reader with the Minister’s accurate quotations and the Ministry’s position in full. Speaking on the air of Public Broadcasting, the Minister stated the following:
“We have repeatedly stated our position, which is known to our partners, including to our neighbours: Armenia, Azerbaijan, strategic partners, Turkey, the United States, that in this format, our engagement with the occupier country when we see no process towards de-occupation will be very hard. It is very hard to participate in this format and speak about some infrastructure projects. However, I’d like to offer this position to our public for judgement – in some form or another, we should engage in major geopolitical projects and relations – of course not at the expense of national interests and concessions to the occupier country. Sovereignty and territorial integrity are “red lines” for the Georgian government. We must not be lagging behind the processes developing in the region and should be involved in new infrastructure projects that may otherwise miss Georgia and cause Georgia to lose its role and function. Therefore, it is very important to adopt an accurate position to avoid damage to the interests of our country”.
We would like to reiterate the Georgian Foreign Ministry’s repeatedly stated position that Georgia is not considering participation in the 3+3 format together with the Russian Federation.
Moreover, Georgia has an important role and function to perform in the region. Reference here is to our participation in the strategically important projects which play a significant role in connecting Asia and Europe, and substantially contribute to Georgia’s economic and political independence. Speaking before the UN General Assembly, the Georgian Prime Minister proposed the Peaceful Neighbourhood Initiative, which is based on the principles of mutual respect and equality and is aimed to restore peace and stability in the region. Your company’s website clearly indicates that civil.ge team publishes only verified information. Please, continue to adhere to this principle.
Original piece by Civil.ge: