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The Daily Beat: 17 November

President Salome Zurabishvili gave an interview to French Le Monde, describing the founder of the ruling Georgian Dream party, Bidzina Ivanishvili, as an oligarch with Russian ties and under Russian influence. In an interview, the President spoke of Ivanishvili’s negative and dominant influence over the Georgian leadership, admitting for the first time that “In Georgian politics today, there is no oligarch other than Ivanishvili.”

The lawmakers from the ruling Georgian Dream party slammed the President’s comments on Bidzina Ivanishvili, accusing her of siding with radical opposition and being ungrateful for Ivanishvili’s efforts that helped her win the presidential elections in 2018.  

The European Commissioner for Energy, Kadri Simson, visited Georgia to participate in the first meeting of the High-Level Energy Dialogue, also holding meetings with the Prime Minister and foreign and economy ministers. According to official reports, the Energy Commissioner and Georgian officials discussed the deepening of EU-Georgia energy cooperation, Georgia’s transit and hydropower potential, Black Sea submarine electricity cable, renewable energy recourses, and development of green energy.

The Foreign Minister Ilia Darchiashvili visited the Kingdom of Denmark, where he held meetings with the MPs of the Foreign Policy and the European Affairs Committees of the Danish parliament, as well as Foreign Affairs Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen. According to the foreign ministry, Minister Darchiashvili briefed Danish lawmakers on Georgia’s institutional and legislative reforms in the context of EC priorities and discussed prospects of bilateral relations, Black Sea security, and other regional challenges. In light of the recent EC recommendation, the meeting between the foreign ministers was mainly focused on Georgia’s EU integration.

Defense Minister Juansher Burchuladze visited Armenia, meeting with his Armenian counterpart Suren Papikyan. According to the defense ministry, in Yerevan, the ministers overviewed the security situation in the region, discussed defense cooperation between the two countries, and signed a joint action plan on defense cooperation. During the meeting, Minister Burchuladze reiterated Georgia’s readiness to promote a peace process in the region within the Peaceful Neighborhood Initiative.

Inal Ardzinba, the top diplomat of occupied Abkhazia, warned of banning international NGOs that view Abkhazia as an occupied territory from entering the region, pointing to the USAID projects that are aimed at “countering the harmful influence of the Kremlin.” “For those who want to destroy Abkhaz-Russian relations and consider the Republic of Abkhazia as an occupied territory, our doors will be closed in the very near future,” claimed Kremlin’s man in Sokhumi.


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