On 7 December, Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili attended the funeral of 11 people repatriated to Georgia from occupied Abkhazia in the Holy Trinity Cathedral and spoke with journalists afterward about the ailing health of Mikheil Saakashvili, the ongoing war in Ukraine, and the Georgian fighters who have been killed there.
While speaking about Saakashvili’s health, Prime Minister Garibashvili noted that he is not a doctor and does not know “what is wrong with this person,” however, he emphasized that the purpose of Saakashvili’s arrival in Georgia was to organize a “revolution” and “bloodshed.”
“They used the last card by bringing back Saakashvili, they committed this stupidity and we saw how it ended – a complete fiasco. Let no one have any illusions, this part of war, these troublemakers and losers, will not bring any disorder to our country,” he said.
The PM also asserted that since the day of his imprisonment, Saakashvili has had the illusion that he would be released first within a week, then in two or three months, and “he was making himself believe, that he was playing his role so well […] that everyone would believe that he was either starving or sick, and they would let him out of prison.”
“This, of course, will not and cannot happen, because we are a state of law and we will not allow anyone, no matter who they are, to place themselves above the law,” the PM stressed.
To the journalist’s question on whether he is aware of conclusions made by the Concilium of doctors, the Prime Minister said that he is not while adding that nor is he interested. “I have heard a lot of [information] that it turns out that Mr. Saakashvili is depressed and does not like the environment, which prisoner likes the prison environment?” he asked journalists.
PM Garibashvili also recalled Justice Minister Rati Bregadze’s proposal for Saakashvili to bring any foreign doctors that he wants to Georgia to treat him, and added, “they [Saakashvili’s supporters] do not want him to be treated in Georgia for the sole purpose that their task is to free Saakashvili…”
Asked whether he takes responsibility for Saakashvili’s health as the Prime Minister, he retorted, “Our lives are entrusted to God, so I cannot really be responsible for the lives of any people.”
“I want to wish Saakashvili, as a since human being, a long life and good health. How can anyone be happy when a person dies? The state is doing and will continue to do everything to protect the constitutional rights of all prisoners,” he said.
On a journalist’s hint that the United National Movement (UNM) has promised to adopt radical measures if the petition for Saakashvili’s release is denied by the Court, PM Garibashvili stated that it is not interesting what the “degraded” party, “formed by treacherous leaders” will say.
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“No one in Georgia will not be able to disrupt and orchestrate anything, because everyone will be restrained and given a proper answer,” he remarked, and added, “We want peace, such as we have today, stability, double-digit economic growth, more jobs, prosperity, development, and the unification of our country, this should be our main task.”
War in Ukraine
Speaking about the ongoing war in Ukraine, PM Garibashvili drew attention to the humanitarian aid that Georgia has provided to Ukraine and said that since the start of the “terrible” war there, Georgian society has united with the government and “we have sent more than 1,000 tons of humanitarian cargo.”
He also recalled the support given to the Ukrainian refugees who arrived in Georgia, noting that such support remains ongoing. “Ukrainian children here receive education in Ukrainian schools,” he noted, adding that “as for additional humanitarian assistance, we will once again consider, find means of assistance and continue this assistance.”
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Speaking about providing military aid to Ukraine, Prime Minister Garibashvili underscored, “we will not do this. As a state, we will never get involved in this war or conflict. This is our clear position. The ruling team is responsible to the Georgian people.”
In that context, he also spoke about attempts to drag Georgia into the war and the second front narrative, recalling statements made by representatives of the Ukrainian government and claiming that “their desire was to open a second front in Georgia, so that not only Ukrainian women and children would be killed, but also Georgians, for this front and war to move to Georgia too.”
“We know even more information, which, unfortunately, cannot be disclosed publicly, but, thank God, the ruling party in the country today is the Georgian Dream, and all of us, the government, who decided that the most important thing for us is our people, our country, the interests of Georgia,” he said.
He also emphasized that “we respect all countries, we respect all peoples, but we love our country the most, and will protect the interests of our country the most.” “As the Prime Minister of our country, I am primarily obliged to protect the interests of our country and I am doing that,” he added.
“… I am on the side of justice, we support Ukraine’s independence, freedom, territorial integrity, and naturally, our wish is for this war to end as soon as possible,” the PM told journalists.
Georgians Killed in Ukraine
PM Garibashvili also reiterated his condolences to the families of the Georgian fighters who have been killed in Ukraine, emphasizing that “this is a tragedy, a great loss, and we all feel it.” According to the PM, “the state is doing everything it can to repatriate these people with dignity, and then to bury all of them with full military honors.”
PM Garibashvili also had to clarify comments he made two days ago about the Georgians killed in Bakhmut, Ukraine, and stated that what he said had been “misunderstood.” The PM blamed media representatives for this, saying that it was they who misinterpreted his statement.
According to the Georgian Prime Minister, the information that he labeled all Georgian fighters in Ukraine to be members of the UNM party is incorrect and a “big lie.” “All of you were spreading this,” he told the journalists.
Per the PM, some of the Georgians in Ukraine went to the war because of “their own beliefs,” “idealistic attitudes,” and “spirit,” and he did not say about them that they were taken to fight by the party of war.
However, he noted that there is another category that is directly related to UNM and Saakashvili. As an example of this, he named Mamuka Mamulashvili, Commander of the Georgian Legion, and noted that his sister, Nona Mamulashvili, was a UNM member of Parliament.
“First of all, I want to address Mamulashvili and others like him, to those who are politically engaged, if a person is fighting a war, may God give you the opportunity to fight, but these party engagements, and … making political statements from the front of the war, I don’t know what this is, what style this is,” he said.
He also wished health and a peaceful return to all Georgians fighting in Ukraine, “regardless of their political opinion,” adding that “this is our main, sincere wish.”
“I would like to ask everyone, including the most radical, degraded, immoral opposition, that speculating on issues related to the death of a person, especially the death of a person in a trial, in war, is completely immoral, and hypocritical,” the PM said, addressing his opponents.