PM Garibashvili’s address to nation: ‘Today is not the time for division – it is the time for unification’

  • Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili said that amid the ‘challenges of the utmost importance’ Georgians ‘must all unite’ regardless of their political beliefs and views. Photo: PM's press office

Agenda.ge, 23 Feb 2021 - 21:02, Tbilisi,Georgia

New Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili has addressed the nation saying that Georgia’ has no time to lose’. ‘Today is not the time for division – it is the time for unification’, he stated.

Garibashvili who was confirmed prime minister yesterday said in his recent video address that amid the important challenges Georgia is facing nowadays, including the pandemic, ‘we must all unite’ regardless the political beliefs and views.

Yesterday, I presented the future vision of the government in the Parliament of Georgia. However, against the backdrop of a deliberate, insulting campaign against law enforcement officials – the hero police officers – I mainly had to talk about the destructive actions of the opposition, in addition to our common goals and challenges”, he said. 

Garibashvili meanwhile added that today the Ministry of Internal Affairs enforced a law, 'which was a necessary condition for the reduction of radicalism in politics and the establishment of fair relations’.

Opposition United National Movement chair NIka Melia was arrested by special unit servicemen earlier today. Photo: IPN

Saying that ‘we are not counting the number of people gathered for the demonstration’ PM Garibashvili said ‘every citizen of our country is precious to us’. 

Today, now that the law has been enforced and the state has taken its due place, I would like to call on all political forces who hold the country dear to open a real and earnest dialogue and to talk not about what divides us, but about what must unite us”, Garibashvili stated.

He noted as well that ‘against the backdrop of the challenges facing the country, it is time for dialogue, not confrontation’. 

Calling on ‘all reasonable opposition forces’ to enter parliament, Garibashvili said they would ‘use the country’s legislature as the main platform for discussion’. 

We are ready for real dialogue at any time and in any format. Together, we must ensure the consolidation of our statehood and independence, the further strengthening of the democratic system, the overcoming of social and economic problems, and Georgia’s integration into the European Union and NATO”, the new PM has concluded.

Shortly after the parliament approved Irakli Garibashvili's cabinet, former MP and head of opposition United National Movement Nika Melia was arrested by police earlier today. 

A number of local non-government organisations and foreign dignitaries have expressed their concern over the special operation of Georgian police which stormed the UNM headquarter this morning to arrest its chair Melia. 

Opposition politicians and civic activists who gathered in front of the parliament building in downtown Tbilisi following the detention of UNM chair Melia plan to camp out in protest tonight. Photo: Nino Alavidze/Agenda.ge

Police used tear gas in the room where Melia was gathered with his supporters, however before starting the special operation they evacuated the UNM office, where party leaders and opposition parties' representatives had been protecting Melia for several days.

PM Garibashvili stated in response to the UNM chair’s detention earlier today that ‘Melia is a criminal’ and that everyone in a democratic state is equal before the law. 

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