Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili on Wednesday told the Qatar Economic Forum his Government imposing sanctions on Russia for its invasion of Ukraine would “destroy our economy”.
At a discussion hosted as part of the Forum running in Doha, the PM said imposing sanctions would “damage the interests of our country and [...] our people”.
Garibashvili also recalled the Russia-Georgia war in 2008 and stressed no sanctions had been imposed by the international community on Russia following its invasion.
No-one in the world made a proper reaction - and, I would say, adequate reaction - to that war. So, my question is: where is the logic? Our war is not a war and Ukraine’s war is a war? I have to say that we were quite disappointed that business as usual continued with Russia after the 2008 war”, Garibashvili said, adding the European Union had “paid Russia $2.5 trillion between 2008-2022”.
He also highlighted the ongoing occupation of 20 percent of the Georgian territory by Russia following the “devastating” conflict. “Russia built two military bases on our historic lands. Russia recognised the so-called independence of our historic regions. And this occupation is ongoing”, the Government head told the panel discussion.
In this situation let me once again confirm that we support Ukraine, we support the Ukrainian people, we want this war to end as soon as possible. We joined more than 500 resolutions at every international platform [in support of Ukraine]. We fully comply with the financial sanctions [imposed on Russia]”, he said and pointed out the United States Department of State had declared Georgian financial institutions to be fully complying with the sanctions.
He also told the Forum Georgia’s trade turnover with Russia was less than $1 billion, noting “what the EU trades with Russia in four days, we trade with Russia in one year”.
One billion cannot affect the Russian economy. This would be 0.3 percent if we had imposed economic sanctions on Russia. There is no logic. This would again destroy [and] harm the national interests of my country”, he noted.
Garibashvili also highlighted his Government’s efforts to bring Georgia closer to the EU and NATO.
“We signed the Association Agreement, free trade, visa-free travel [with the EU], [and received a] European perspective [last year]. Could we have imagined this 10 years ago? The country was heading in a totally different direction. It was our decision to put into the constitution that the country’s foreign policy orientation is the EU and NATO”, the PM told his audience at the event.