Archil Talakvadze, the Vice Speaker of the Georgian Parliament, on Tuesday claimed the country’s foreign partners had “no reasons for concern” about the recently resumed flights between Russia and Georgia.
The comment came following remarks by the United States Department of State on Monday, which expressed concerns over the flights and pointed to potential threats to companies in Georgian airports if they served Russian aircraft sanctioned for the country’s invasion of Ukraine.
The US body also said it was “no [right] time” to intensify relations with Russia amid its ongoing aggression of Ukraine and the West’s imposition of sanctions on Moscow for the conflict.
I want to assure our partners there is no reason for concern”, Talakvadze claimed, adding the Kremlin had “unilaterally” cancelled flights with Georgia in 2019 due to anti-Kremlin protests in Tbilisi, before also “unilaterally restoring” them on May 10.
He stressed the country’s partners should now be “more focused” on Georgia’s obtaining the European Union membership candidate status by the end of this year, “without any delay”.
Obtaining the status will be an important and timely decision that Georgia deserves”, Talakvadze said, noting the European Council’s move last year to grant the country a European perspective - instead of the full status - had “further increased risks” that he said had already been high in the South Caucasus region and beyond.
“The countries whose territories are occupied by Russia are facing serious security challenges”, he added.
Talakvadze also reiterated the Government's stance that imposing individual sanctions on Russia would affect Georgia’s citizens and its economy, and would increase the risks of escalations with Russia amid the absence of “any security or legal guarantees” from the West.