Speaking to reporters in Kutaisi on June 6, Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili once again criticized the “weak” and “marginalized” opposition for its “destructive activities.” He also focused on EU membership, saying that if European colleagues want to end polarization in the country, they should grant Georgia candidate status. The Prime Minister also spoke about his visit to Moldova, his planned meeting with the German Chancellor and blowing up of Ukraine’s Kakhovka dam by Russia.
“Anyone who opposes the police… will be punished in an exemplary manner”
Responding to a journalist’s question about the “insulting campaign against police officers” by opposition politicians, PM Garibashvili said that “all those people who use insulting words about our heroic, commendable police are the enemies of our country.” “All those who oppose the police… will be punished in an exemplary manner,” he added.
In this context, he mentioned the “Girchi-More Freedom” party, stressing that, in his opinion, it is “one of the most anti-national, anti-Georgian, neo-fascist developments and a completely immoral, degraded organization that has done everything to the detriment of the country’s interests.” Then, the Prime Minister also recalled the Droa party and its leader, Elene Khoshtaria, noting that they “engage in destructive activities” and “insult people, including our commendable police officers.”
“Any feeble attempt by these people will end in a complete collapse and the state will uncompromisingly expose all such cases”- PM Garibashvili said, adding that “this fact should be condemned” and “society should raise its voice about it.” “Our police, our army are inviolable; whoever attacks our special services that strengthen our state is the enemy of our country, I will not hesitate to say that,” he added.
June 2-3 protests
Irakli Garibashvili also responded to a question about the June 2-3 protests, in which citizens were holding various protest banners addressed to the Prime Minister. He said: “You imagine how little I care about this”. “These are simple provocations about which a serious person cannot make a serious comment,” he added.
The Prime Minister noted that “our weak opposition and marginalized opposition, as a whole, with all its satellites and NGOs, with all these degraded people, have nothing left but to resort to personal insults.” “They are provocative,” he stressed.
“I see a perspective that the opposition will be defeated once again and strongly in the 2024 elections”
Commenting on the remarks of Levan Khabeishvili, chairman of the United National Movement, about the opposition uniting to defeat the Georgian Dream, PM Garibashvili said: “I see a perspective that the opposition will be defeated once again and heavily in the 2024 elections.”
“These people are just an ordinary, marginalized force that has no agenda, that has no alternative opinion or criticism to offer our society, our people,” he said.
“European friends should give us status if they want to end polarization”
“If our European friends, colleagues, our real friends want to end polarization, or at least, to halve and minimize it, they should give us candidate status,” the Prime Minister said, commenting on the granting of EU candidate status to Georgia.
Commenting on the 12 priorities given to Georgia by the European Commission, the Prime Minister noted that their “comprehensive” and “honest” fulfillment was and is the task of the current government. “We will complete all these processes by the end of June,” he said, noting the passivity of the “destructive, bankrupt” opposition in this process.
“There was no queue” to shake hands with President Zelensky in Moldova
Asked by a journalist why he and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky did not greet each other during their visit to Moldova, Prime Minister Garibashvili replied: “…nothing special happened, there were 45 leaders there, maybe five, six, ten of them came up to Zelensky. That was it. There was no queue to shake his hand.”
Asked what he would do if he had the opportunity to meet the Ukrainian President, Irakli Garibashvili replied: “I would greet him.” “I have said it publicly and I will repeat it again, we wish Ukraine an end to the war, the unification of its territories and peace,” he added.
Planned meeting with the German Chancellor
PM Garibashvili confirmed to reporters that he would visit Germany on June 9 at the invitation of German Chancellor Olaf Scholz to discuss “security issues, EU integration” and more generally, “the difficult situation” in the region due to the war in Ukraine. “I would like to express my gratitude to the Chancellor, because he always loudly and openly expresses his support for our country. In practically every speech, the German Chancellor openly supports Georgia’s European integration,” the Prime Minister said.
Asked whether he had been “summoned” by the German Chancellor and whether his visit to Germany was connected with his statements in Bratislava, Irakli Garibashvili replied: “…if you could not think of anything else than the fact that someone summoned the Prime Minister of your country, it indicates that you are in a very difficult situation, you and your superiors are miserable.”
“This [blowing up of the Kakhovka dam] is one of the consequences of this brutal war… that Russia is waging in Ukraine”
“This is one of the consequences of this brutal war, the destructive war that Russia is waging in Ukraine, this is not new,” the Prime Minister said in response to a question about the blowing up of the Kakhovka dam in Ukraine, adding: “The Kakhovka HPP has surprised you, while 20% of the Ukrainian territory has been destroyed, cities, villages, have been razed to the ground.”
“We don’t really see, and I don’t think anyone can see real efforts to end this war or calls for negotiations, on the contrary – we see more escalation, more aggression,” PM Garibashvili said, reiterating that “peace has no alternative.”