EU Makes Démarche to Georgian Government over Resumption of Flights with Russia

On May 29, the European Union Ambassador to Georgia, Paweł Herczyński, together with the Ambassadors of the European Union Member States, met with the Georgian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development, Levan Davitashvili, to deliver a diplomatic démarche on the resumption of direct flights with Russia.

Comment by the EU Ambassador

During a recent meeting with the Georgian Deputy Prime Minister, Herczyński expressed the EU’s position on direct flights between Georgia and Russia. He stated: “We just had a very open and very frank conversation with the Minister about the direct flights between Georgia and Russia.” Herczyński stressed that his mission was to convey the EU position, which was agreed upon by all 27 EU capitals in Brussels.

The EU Ambassador conveyed the EU’s regret regarding the Georgian government’s decision to accept direct flights with Russia, noting that it contradicts the position of the 27 member states.

Herczyński stated: “We have conveyed that we regret the decision of the Georgian government to accept direct flights with Russia, we have conveyed that this decision goes against the decisions of 27 member states not to have flights to and from Russia and not to allow overflight of Russian airplanes on the territory of EU member states. We have also expressed our concern that this decision goes against our decision to isolate Russia and to put pressure on Russia in order to change Russia’s behavior when it comes to the brutal aggressive war that Russia is still continuing in Ukraine”.

He also noted that although it was Russia’s unilateral decision to restore flights to Georgia, it also required the agreement of the Georgian government.

In response to the arguments presented by the Georgian side, Herczyński said: “Georgian side has conveyed all the arguments that we had already heard about the Georgian government making sure that neither sanctioned airplanes nor airplanes manufactured in the West are used, but this, unfortunately, misses the bigger political point.”

He reminded that the EU has collectively decided to ban all flights to and from Russia, which is an important step taken by all 27 EU member states and other partner countries. The Ambassador expressed that the Georgian government’s decision to accept direct flights with Russia is not viewed positively. However, he added that it will ultimately be up to the 27 member states to assess the impact of this decision on Georgia’s aspiration to join the EU.

Deputy Prime Minister’s comment

“We had a very open and honest dialogue on the issues that are relevant for the EU member states today,” Levan Davitashvili said, explaining that the main issue discussed at the meeting was the restoration of direct flights with Russia. “However, we discussed the current geopolitical situation in general.”

“We discussed that the situation of Georgia cannot be considered in the same context as the situation of other countries. Georgia is in a particularly difficult situation – it has a direct border with the Russian Federation and 20% of its territory is occupied,” he said, adding: “Georgia’s context is different from the context of EU member states” and “for many Ambassadors, this is absolutely understandable and logical”.

According to Levan Davitashvili, the sides also discussed the implementation of international sanctions imposed on Russia. According to him, in addition to the Larsi check point, with the resumption of flights, Georgia will have three new points of connection with the Russian Federation in Tbilisi, Kutaisi, and Batumi airports. “Just as sanctions are enforced at the highest level at the Larsi customs point, there will be additional customs control at these airports,” the vice-premier emphasized.

According to him, the meeting also drew attention to the fact that “the positions of EU member states on trade relations [with Russia] are not clear today”. The Deputy Prime Minister also noted that in 2022, EU trade with Russia will increase by 5 billion euros, and while some countries’ trade with Russia has tripled, the others’ have decreased. “Therefore, it is very important for us to have a clear, open and honest dialogue with the Europeans on any issue, and this is correctly assessed and appreciated by the EU member states,” he said.

Noting that “we may have differences of opinion on some issues,” Levan Davitashvili once again emphasized that Georgia’s situation cannot be equated with that of EU member states because Georgia is not yet a member state and “our context is different and our situation is different. It is specific… be it from the security or economic point of view”.

Also Read:

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


Back to top button