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2024 Ambassadorial Conference in Berlin

On June 20, Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Kobakhidze chaired the 2024 the Ambassadorial meeting in Berlin, Germany, which is currently hosting the EURO-24 football championship. The Ambassadorial was attended by the Georgian ambassadors to the United States and European countries, as well as the permanent representatives of Georgia to the European Union, NATO and other international organizations. During the meeting, the parties discussed the foreign policy priorities of Georgia, the challenges facing the country and plans for the future. After the meeting, the Prime Minister spoke to journalists on issues such as EU and NATO accession, the Foreign Agents Law, and relations with China.

According to the press release of the Georgian government, during the meeting the Prime Minister emphasized the special importance of the work of Georgian diplomats in protecting Georgia’s interests in the international arena and thanked them for their work. At the meeting, the ambassadors received “concrete instructions” from the Prime Minister, the press release said.

Prime Minister’s Comments to Journalists

Relations with the West

Speaking to journalists on the topic of the Ambassadorial, Prime Minister Kobakhidze emphasized that EU integration and continuous progress in this direction is Georgia’s foreign policy priority. He repeatedly said that relations with the EU and the US have to be “reset” and “become healthy”. He noted that despite some difficulties in EU-Georgia relations, he believes that by 2030 Georgia will be an EU member state. He emphasized that this main goal is very clear, but there are “some nuances” that need to be discussed and the Ambassadorial provided an opportunity to go through the details and discuss future action plans that would strengthen Georgia’s international positions.

As for what the PM expects from the West in the near future, he stated: “Our main message to our partners is that the relationship needs to be reset and strengthened in all directions, that applies to the United States of America and that applies to the European Union. During the time that Kelly Degnan [former U.S. Ambassador to Georgia] and Carl Hartzell [former head of EU Delegation to Georgia] were working in Georgia, a lot of things went wrong. Since then, problems have arisen, difficulties have arisen. However, everything is subject to reset, recovery, the main thing is that we receive the appropriate steps from the partners… I am sure that as soon as the regional and global situation improves, it will have a direct impact on the improvement of relations between Georgia and the EU, and between Georgia and the U.S. We have high hopes that the war in Ukraine will end soon. Ukraine needs peace and of course this will be one of the factors that will contribute to the improvement of relations…”

The PM was also asked about the upcoming meeting of the Foreign Affairs Council, when the Foreign Ministers of EU member states will discuss sanctions against Georgia in response to the Foreign Agents law, among other topics. The Prime Minister again mentioned the need to “reset the relations” and stated: “We expect pragmatic steps from the EU structures.” He maintained that “in the end, you all saw that there was not a single argument against the law.” He added: “We repeatedly offered our partners a public discussion, but each time we were refused. In the end, everyone saw that the criticism had no basis. Against this background, it is necessary to show a pragmatic approach to Georgia in order to ensure the strengthening of relations between Georgia and the European Union. There was, so to speak, an overabundance of statements about certain measures, but in reality such steps would be counterproductive.”

PM Kobakhidze briefly commented on the upcoming NATO Summit as well, indicating that his expectations from the summit is low. “In general, as far as NATO enlargement is concerned, NATO leaders are making public statements that NATO enlargement is not an issue that can be actively discussed at this stage, so we do not expect any substantial changes from the NATO Summit. Of course, are ready for a close partnership with NATO, this has always been our task, and of course we will continue to work in this direction.”

Sino-Georgian relations

The Prime Minister was asked to react to the comment regarding the Sino-Georgian relations by the U.S. Ambassador to Georgia, Robin Dunnigan. He first noted his respect towards the Ambassador, stressing that he hopes that she will revive U.S.-Georgian relations; commenting about Sino-Georgian relations, he said: “I think that here, too, there is an absolutely unfair attitude on the part of certain partner countries, so to speak. In fact, everyone knows that China is one of the most important trading partners for the EU and the U.S.. When we hear criticism of Georgia deepening economic relations with China in these circumstances, it is certainly a double standard, and such a double standard is absolutely unacceptable for us. An important and necessary condition for healthy relations is justice, fair assessments. Unfortunately, we often hear unfair assessments of the steps taken by our state. These steps serve the national interests of our country, and therefore, of course, we will continue to act in this direction in the future. Double standards and injustice are counterproductive to the improvement of relations between us and our partner countries.”

Other issues

The Prime Minister once again spoke about the Foreign Agents law during his conversation with journalists, saying that the criticism of the law was unfounded and pointing to the law on transparency of foreign influence adopted in Canada. “The adoption of the law on transparency, serves to prevent foreign influences and to protect the sovereignty of the country. Therefore, the campaign against the transparency law in Georgia was a complete farce. The example of Canada is another very clear confirmation of this. The campaign we saw in Georgia against the transparency law was simply shameful. If you criticize the law without any arguments, it is just shameful.”

He also reiterated accusations against the largest opposition party in Georgia, the United National Movement, claiming that the party wished for Georgia to go through what Ukraine had to endure, noting: “I would like to assure the representatives of the “National Movement” that the Ukrainian scenario will not develop in Georgia and the Ukrainization of Georgia will not happen under any circumstances, we will do our best to avoid this, we will do everything.”

Finally, Prime Minister Kobakhidze touched upon the list of football players that President Salome Zurabishvili will award with the Medal of Honor in September 2024. He noted that the original list of players was presented to the President after consultations with the Georgian Football Federation and the national team, and that the President’s decision to omit some of the players from the list in her decision is an attempt to create a division in society and shows that “she knows nothing about football.”

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


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