Tbilisi, Dfwatch – Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili hopes that a progress done by Georgia will be ‘adequately assessed’ on the upcoming NATO Summit in Wales, but he also thinks it is not advisable to speak of this issue in advance, as it raises false expectations among his fellow counterparts.
He was reluctant to talk over what German Chancellor Angela Merkel told him about reasons why granting Georgia Membership Action Plan, the MAP, a virtual mantra of the Georgian politics, is out of the Wales Summit agenda. Prime Minister Gharibashvili on Wednesday emulated a tradition introduced by his political guru, former PM Bidzina Ivanisvhvili, of holding periodical press-conferences lasting three hours or more.
Ivanishvili held number of such meetings with journalists during his tenure of about a year, while Wednesday’s press-conference was second such an attempt of Mr. Gharibashvili since his appointment as a PM in November, 2013.
Less journalists attended Wednesday’s press-conference than usual, however the usual style of petty-polemizing with journalists, established by Ivanishivli, was once again upheld by the current PM. He sometimes rebuked journalists who asked critical questions and offended them saying that those questions had been conceived by the United National Movement, his political opponents.
Talking about the foreign policy Gharibashvili said that very ‘successful work’ had been done in this regard and tangible results are evident, referring to the ‘number of productive negotiations’ and ‘unprecedented number of visits of high ranking persons.’ Gharibashvili named his visits to the US, in February, and Germany, couple days ago, where he met Barack Obama and Angela Merkel.
“There haven’t been such a high level visit to Germany and I think this is a result of very successful foreign policy,” he said, but didn’t speak of the specific results of these visits. Journalists asked what Angela Merkel said over to him why the MAP for Georgia won’t be discussed at September’s upcoming NATO summit.
PM didn’t comment on this question, instead he criticized ex-president Mikheil Saakashvili and his party saying that they’d been raising false expectations among Georgians over the MAP.
Obtaining the MAP has virtually become nearly the most acute topic of Georgia’s political discourse. Georgia, with its two occupied territories of Abkhazia and South Ossetia and permanent tensions with Russia, views the MAP, and subsequent Alliance membership, as a panacea of most of its woes.
Russia’s policies in Ukraine, annexation of Crimean peninsula and stoking guerrilla warfare in Eastern Ukraine, make Georgians more fearful of their northern neighbor. About a year ago, former PM Bidzina Ivanishvili also said that Georgia would receive MAP by the end of 2014.
Georgia’s hope for getting MAP in Wales had been also stoked by ambiguous statements by the European politicians until Angela Merkel two days ago poured a cold shower over those expectation.
“We prefer to wait and conduct active foreign policy. Everything will become clear later. Wales Summit will take place in September. I don’t think it is reasonable that head of the government makes hasty predictions before the summit, thus raising (unfounded) expectations among people,” Gharibashvili said.
PM thinks Georgia’s progress is evident and will be adequately assessed by the West.
During press-conference he also said that recent developments in Abkhazia is related to signing the Association Agreement with the EU on June 27. “In my opinion, this is an ordinary staff change,’ Gharibashvili said of ousting Alexander Ankvab, Abkhazia’s de facto president.
“There were certain speculations that Gali population may have some problems. We carefully observe the situation and later it will be possible to make real analysis.” Gharibashvili continued that his government embarked on reconciliation with Abkhazia and South Ossetia and changed Saakashvili government’s adverse rhetoric.
“We continue constructive policy and expect specific (positive) results. There were concurring steps from Russia, I mean re-opening of its market for Georgian goods.” He said that Georgia managed to improve relations with Russia.