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President Talks Forthcoming Legal Dispute With Gov’t, GD Stance on Ukraine

In an extended interview with Palitranews TV on June 2, Georgian President Salome Zurabishvili addressed the forthcoming competence dispute with the Georgian Dream Government, as well as the authorities’ stance on the war in Ukraine and controversial rhetoric on sanctions against Russia.

Forthcoming Dispute

The President went into detail about the Georgian Dream party’s claims that she had violated the Constitution by making an unauthorized trip to Paris and Brussels on February 28-March 1, and by refusing to sign off on several diplomatic appointments over the past year.

Recalling she made the informal visit after the Government refused to approve the official working trip, President Zurabishvili argued that the refusal appeared to be “one-off, but in a crucial moment.”

The President pointed out that her trip was followed by Georgia applying for EU membership, adding she thinks that now it is clear that “this was a correct and a necessary visit.”

As for the alleged denial to greenlight the appointments for Georgia’s foreign service, the alleged violation over which the Georgian Dream Government plans to launch a competence dispute, President Zurabishvili reiterated her Administration’s previous denial of the claim. “A 100% of [the appointment requests] were satisfied,” she stressed.

But “it would be very good” if the Constitutional Court separates some competencies of the President and the Government and makes clarifications, she added.

Overall, President Zurabishvili refused to make any other comments to the growing criticism she faces from the GD, the party that had backed her bid for the presidency in 2018.

“I do not answer any criticism or insults, this is my personal stance that I had with the opposition, and I have this stance with the GD,” she added.

GD Stance on Sanctions, “Party of War” Claims Against Opposition

Referring to Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili’s repeated and clear-cut refusal of imposing sanctions against Russia, the President said “for some reason, we find it necessary to reject some things that are not demanded from us.”

“I do not understand why we make some statements in advance,” she went on. “There are no demands of additional sanctions.”

Besides, the President rebuffed the claim of the governing party that there are coordinated efforts from abroad and from the United National Movement, the largest opposition outfit, as well as other parties to drag Georgia into a war with Russia.

“There is no threat of a second front, there is no party of war, or parties of war in Georgia,” she asserted. “I do not think there is anyone who is pro-war in this country… we neither have the means nor the desire for a second front, because we have a different policy toward our [Russian-] occupied territories.”

The President also argued that “it is understandable” that several Ukrainian officials have expressed what she called their wish, not a demand, for a second front in Georgia, considering they are at war and are looking for “some form” of relief.

“But when [the GD, Government] say that there demands for a second front, it is incorrect, because such demands have not come from our partners and friends,” she added.

Solidarity with Ukraine

Asked what Georgia could do more in support of Ukraine, the President argued that “no one demands us to do what is outside our powers. We are obliged to [show] moral solidarity.”

Alluding to the GD’s rejection of a possible Parliamentary address by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, as proposed by the opposition, she pointed out that Georgia remains one of the few European states, where the embattled country’s leader was not “given the possibility” to make a speech at the legislature.

Making the address happen required “nothing but complete moral solidarity,” she stressed.

President Zurabishvili added that Georgia should have hung Ukrainian and Moldovan banners alongside the Georgian and EU flags on the Parliament building for May 26 Independence Day celebrations.

“If the Trio [Georgia, Ukraine and Moldova] are on the path toward European integration together, and if Ukraine is the key reason why this process is accelerated today, then we should probably admit that and know how to be grateful at times.”

She refused to comment whether she had proposed the authorities make the said gesture for Independence Day, however.

This post is also available in: ქართული (Georgian) Русский (Russian)

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