Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili on Wednesday told the ongoing Qatar Economic Forum in Doha his Government’s “clear” position that airline companies sanctioned for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine would not operate in Georgia.
Garibashvili made the comment at a panel discussion held as part of the Forum, and said his Government did not intend to stop economic and trade relations with Russia, while also noting “many” states were still operating flights to the country since the start of the war.
This is part of an economic and trade relations with Russia. We never said we would stop economic and trade relations with Russia. You mentioned flights - many countries have flights with Russia, but we have made it very clear that no sanctioned companies and no sanctioned aircraft will be allowed to operate in Georgia”, Garibashvili said.
He also expressed gratitude to the United States for its “strategic partnership” and Europe for its “support”, while adding “Georgia has a sovereign right to have its own national interests”.
The PM highlighted “one million ethnic Georgians” lived in Russia as a diaspora, meaning direct flights between the two countries - which were restored on May 15 following the Kremlin’s lifting of its 2019 ban on air connections with Georgia - were “very normal”.
“We have one million Georgians - ethnic Georgians, our citizens - as a diaspora living in Russia. To have a direct flight with Russia, I think it is very normal. Plus, it does not mean that we are engaged in some kind of political consultation or something like that. As I said, this is a part of the economic and trade relations [Georgia has with Russia] - like the EU does, like America does”, he said.