His Excellency Irakli Garibashvili, Prime Minister of Georgia, sat down with Manus Cranny, Anchor, Bloomberg Television, at the third ‘Qatar Economic Forum, Powered by Bloomberg’, today. As part of session four of the Forum on ‘A New Global Growth Story’, Garibashvili highlighted:
· 'Europe hasn't faced such a challenge since the Second World War. Therefore, this war affects all of us. Let me remind you that Georgia experienced a war in 2008, and we know precisely what it entails. We are aware that approximately 20% of Ukrainian territory is currently occupied by Russia; this is the current status quo. What will happen tomorrow, I don't know, and I can't say. I believe nobody knows.'
· “Unfortunately, we do not see any signs that this war will end soon; that is the problem. We also do not witness enough efforts from the international community to take proper measures, to encourage consultations, and to promote peace talks.”
· “Not only would we harm Georgia, but we would also devastate our economy and jeopardize the interests of our country and our people if we were to impose any form of economic sanctions on Russia.”
· “Let me go back to the war in 2008. Do you remember if anyone imposed sanctions on Russia because of our war? No one, no one in the world made proper reactions, and I would say adequate reaction, to that war. So, my question is, where is the logic? Our war is not a war, and the Ukrainian war is not a war? Well, I have to say we were quite disappointed that business as usual continued in Russia. The result of the 2008 war, the devastating war, is that 20 percent of our territory is occupied by Russia. Russia built two military bases on our historic lands. Russia recognized the so-called independence of our historic regions, and this occupation is ongoing. So my question to my European, my American friends is the following: my dear friends, you continued business as usual with Russia, no one imposed sanctions on Russia. For your information, and for the information of our audience, the EU paid 2.5 trillion dollars between 2000 and 2022 to Russia, no one stopped business, nothing happened.”
· “America is a very important strategic partner, and we are very thankful for everything America has done for us, as well as Europe. Georgia has its sovereign rights to have its own national interests. And as I explained, we have economic trade relations with Russia, we have 1 million ethnic Georgians, our citizens, who live in Russia. To have flights with Russia is very normal, plus it doesn’t mean that we are engaged in some kind of political consultation. As I said, this is part of economic trade relations. Like the European Union does, like America does.”
· “With China, we have a very good relationship. We have a free trade agreement with China, and we do increase trade, economic ties with China. What China has been trying to do during this crisis is a really wise move because China has been trying to mediate between Ukraine and Russia. I would welcome efforts from any country, from any leader, who would encourage peace talks, mediate, negotiate, and who would try to make some efforts to resolve the issue.”