Irakli Kobakhidze, the chair of the ruling Georgian Dream party, on Wednesday said Georgia’s capital Tbilisi would be a “city of peace” and added the country was wishing the same for Ukraine amid the Russian invasion of the latter.
Kobakhidze’s comment came following claims by a part of the domestic opposition that Tbilisi city authorities’ selection of the slogan “City of Peace” message to mark the New Year's Eve was a “dig” at Ukraine.
The party chair called the statements “shameful” and added “some people” were “so hostile to [the idea of] peace that word peace irritates them”.
“Actually, they are not irritated by the inscription and slogan, but by peace in our country, [as] they are the party of war. They have direct intentions, which they cannot hide”, the GD official said in a repeat of ruling authorities’ claims that a part of the opposition is campaigning to involve the country in the ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine.
They want war in Georgia. Therefore, they are fighting not against slogans and inscriptions, but against peace in the country. There will be peace in Georgia and Tbilisi will be a city of peace. This is the wish that each of us has for each Tbilisi resident, and we have the same wish for our Ukrainian friends. Speculation on this issue is shameful”, Kobakhidze concluded.
Tbilisi mayor Kakha Kaladze on Wednesday said there was “no political message” in city authorities’ selection of the “City of Peace” message. He stressed peace was “very important for our country, for our city”, adding it was “the first thing that anyone longs for” on the backdrop of challenges in the region.
Kaladze also said the “heroic” Ukrainian people were fighting for freedom and peace, and said it was “embarrassing” to “have to make explanations” on the selection of New Year’s Eve message on the backdrop of the developments.