TBILISI, DFWatch–Georgia is not planning to join another round of sanctions against Russia, Prime Minister Garibashvili said on Thursday. The sanctions were imposed by European countries as punishment for Russia’s annexation of Crimea last year.
Garibashvili said it while commenting on a decision by Russia’s consumer protection bureau, Rospotrebnadzor, to deny several brands of Georgian wines and spirits entry to the Russian market due to “systematic violation of technological standards.”
“We cherish the achievements we have made in the form of restoring trade relations between Russia and Georgia,” Garibashvili said.
The move by Rospotrebnadzor, which some accuse of being a political tool of the Kremlin, has created fears in Tbilisi of an impending trade embargo, like what was introduced in 2006, shortly after four Russian diplomats were detained in Georgia on spying charges.
The PM said that Georgia joined only one of the 15 sanctions imposed by the EU against Russia; the one which prohibits importing products manufactured in Crimea.
Rospotrebnadzor’s recent move is a misunderstanding, he insisted, as Georgia joined the Crimea sanctions back in 2014.
“Years ago, due to [former President] Saakashvili’s reckless policies, any kind of dialogue [between Georgia and Russia] was severed and our products were banned [in Russia],” Garibashvili said.
“Through a pragmatic policy, by negotiations, we managed to reopen [the Russian] market.”
“I have no doubt that internal destructive forces do not want to normalize relations and restore trade [with Russia]. However, it is in our interest to restore good neighborly relations with Russia. This process has already begun, but the main problems are Abkhazia and South Ossetia. When it comes to other issues, we are following them consistently and have absolutely good neighborly relations,” Garibashvili said.