PM Garibashvili: Georgia is distinguished star among EU Eastern Partnership states

Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili spoke about a number of issues with journalists today. Photo: PM's press office/archive, 17 Jul 2021 - 19:24, Tbilisi,Georgia

“We are a sovereign and independent state. We are doing everything, and we are a distinguished star among the EU Eastern Partnership states, with our reforms, achievements”, Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili has told journalists today. 

Garibashvili said the ‘irresponsible, malevolent politicians’ who have served at various leading positions under Mikheil Saakashvili’s leadership, now urge Georgia’s main partner - the United States - ‘to ruin relations with us’.

That is a continuation of the malicious policy we all have witnessed. Of course, we will press on with this process to the end, and no force, no malicious and unfair policy of uncertain origin, will impede our progress and our country's advancement and development”, he said.

Speaking of US-Georgia relations PM Garibashvili said the US State Department and the Secretary of State have thanked him personally for his leadership in the region and ‘the successful mission we completed together with America’. 

Our country is proud of the exceptional, unique strategic partnership we enjoy with our key strategic partner, the United States of America, a staunch supporter of our country and people, for which we are grateful to America, and I always express gratitude for their assistance over the past 30 years, since the restoration of our independence”, he told the journalists. 

Garibashvili added as well that on its part, Georgia has also done and is still doing everything it can to further strengthen this partnership and friendship ‘based on equal relationships and mutual respect’.

EU-mediated agreement between Georgian political parties

Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili spoke about the EU-mediated agreement between the Georgian ruling party and opposition as well, thanking the European Council President Charles Michel for his engagement.

I once again thank President Charles Michel for it, because his involvement was crucial at the moment to ensure an agreement with our opposition. However, I also remind everyone that more than half of the opposition under the leadership of Saakashvili and his party have yet to sign this agreement, and that says it all”, PM Garibashvili said.

I also would like to remind our partners, and everyone for that matter, that we, on our end, have continued and are continuing this process, doing everything to implement it and fulfilling all our obligations. Everything else is nothing but speculations”, he added.

PM: “The appointment of judges is a process”

PM Garibashvili spoke about the recent appointment of Supreme Court judges, despite calls from the opposition, NGOs and the international community to suspend the process in compliance with the EU-mediated agreement.

Dissatisfaction has been expressed over the judiciary, the appointment of judges, and so on. I would like to say that our Government, upon coming to power in 2012, implemented a major judiciary reform resulting in serious progress in the court system”, Irakli Garibashvili said. 

He also said that ‘we all remember well the country we were living in prior to 2012, with the judiciary being just another unit under the Prosecutor's Office‘, but ‘neither the US nor Europe has ever made a critical comment against the judiciary of that time, and it is unfortunate and unfair’.

We are carrying on with this process, and we have stated that we are continuing our large-scale judiciary reform, a lengthy process that is not done overnight. We do not claim to be perfect and infallible, but it is a process. What we have done in the past eight years has made a tremendous difference, like day and night. There used to be night, but now we have a day, daylight”, he said.

Garibashvili also said that in terms of judicial independence and transparency, Georgia is ‘ahead of many EU states’. 

In terms of public trust in the judiciary, we are on par with the leading EU states. Consequently, some may have some questions, and a misunderstanding may occur. But I promise everyone that this misunderstanding with our main strategic partner will be cleared up, and we will answer every question there is. It takes more communication, interaction, and explanation”, PM Garibashvili told the journalists earlier today. 

PM on July 5-6 violence against journalists and the death of TV Pirveli cameraman

The Georgian Prime Minister has spoken about the recent developments in Tbilisi when the right-wing groups attacked a total of 53 media representatives, including TV Pirveli cameraman Lekso Lashkarava, on July 5-6

Once again, I would like to extend my sympathy to all of you over the death of your colleague. Of course, it is an enormous tragedy for us all, but taking advantage of and manipulating the death of your colleague to influence the public is a profoundly immoral act”, Garibahsvili said about Lashkarava’ds death.

He again reiterated that ‘the only force engaged in manipulation here is Saakashvili and his radical group’. 

Unfortunately, I must admit that the part of journalists who are directly involved in this political campaign and rallying will have a negative, unhealthy impact on the media environment, but this is their choice. We, the Government will do everything to enable you journalists to word and move freely. The Government has done everything to that end”, he said.

Garibashvili added that since 2012, ‘our country has been earning top positions in all rankings, ahead of many EU member states, and media freedom is guaranteed in our country’. 

He also said ‘in a matter of just two weeks, anyone can establish a TV station and launch media operations in Georgia’.

“We have heard many speculations surrounding July 5-6… The police have done an excellent job. Over those 2 days, 120 persons were arrested. On July 6, 100 persons were arrested, and 22 were arrested in relation to violent acts. Every violent act against you journalists will be investigated as fast as possible, and everyone responsible will be duly punished”, he concluded.