President Margvelashvili talks to Forbes about country’s goals

Georgia's President Giorgi Margvelashvili. Photo by President's Facebook Page, 08 Oct 2014 - 21:21, Tbilisi,Georgia

Georgia’s President Giorgi Margvelashvili believes "irrational wars” should be stopped and the Caucasus region should move to a rational policy. 

Margvelashvili spoke about a number of issues about Georgia’s foreign and domestic policy in an interview with the Forbes Georgia magazine. He touched upon Russia’s recent moves in the region too.

He said even though he did not know Vladimir Putin personally, the Russian President was an interesting character as he was the "real decision-maker in the most difficult issues for Georgia”.

"I hope he [Putin] is rational and supports a rational policy,” Margvelashvili said.

"I hope at some point it will be possible to construct Georgian-Russian relations in favour of our countries' interests. I hope for this." 

When asked if there was a threat of more aggression from Russia, Margvelashvili said due to Russia's foreign policy doctrine "we sometimes witness sudden tensions at different locations."

"If Putin believes that Russia's strength must be restored not through a kind neighborhood but through military aggression, it is not a profitable policy despite the fact that it may bring small benefits at specific moments,’’ Margvelashvili told the Forbes Georgia. 

However Margvelashvili believed Russia was a country that did not need territories. 

"There is no other country in the world which is so rich with territorial and natural resources [as Russia],” he said.

"I do not think there is any logic for annexing Tskhinvali [Georgia’s northeast region, currently occupied by Russia]. Hence, I think at some point we will all realise that military aggression cannot bring any state profit,” he said.

"The same about Tskhinvali and Abkhazia – nobody has profited anything in this situation. Georgia’s territories have been occupied, which means that we've lost. Conditions of the people living in the occupied territories have not been improved, meaning they have also lost,’’ he said, believing Russia added Tskhinvali to its large territory and thus inflicted serious damage to its international image.

Meanwhile, Margvelashvili believed Georgia’s European integration would not be hurt by the country’s policy to allow Georgian products to return to the Russian market. 

The Forbes journalist asked President Margvelashvili of a time when Georgia did not join the western sanctions against Russia and even some politicians, particularly the Agriculture Minister said that Georgia could use this moment as renewing the economic relations with Russia. 

The reporter asked: "From an ethical and pragmatic point of view does this kind of position separate from western context?”

Margvelashvili believed Georgia’s declared position was formulated before the Ukraine crisis. 

"We launched the restoration of economic relations with Russia two years ago and not today. That was the declared position of Georgia’s new Government before the Ukraine crisis emerged. Zurab Abashidze, who is Georgia’s special envoy of the Georgian Prime Minister on Russian Issues, has worked on this since that time. These priorities have not changed, which was to return traditional Georgian products to the Russian market,” Margvelashvili said.

The President believed Georgia’s Association Agreement with the European Union was not a move to cooperate exclusively with anyone or a way to harm anyone else.

"Georgia’s European Integration has to be deepened on the basis of the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area which we signed in June. We will continue the strategy which we started two years ago,” he added. 

Margvelashvili believed Georgia had to vindicate the trade balance, which was supported by everyone.

"Our Association Agreement is not against anyone. Our policy to return Georgian products to Russia has not changed.” 

Meanwhile, when speaking about domestic policy, Margvelashvili answered questions about the relationship of the President and the ruling team. He said he "did not think his teammates had any problem with him”.

Margvelashvili noted in many cases his and the Georgian Dream Coalition’s language could have been different but their political orientations were the same.