TBILISI, DFWatch — Georgian TV channel Rustavi 2 claimed there was a crisis between Georgia and Armenia after the Georgian Foreign Minister was misquoted regarding Nagorno-Karabakh.
The comment fell during a visit to Lithuania. Mrs Panjikidze was asked by Azerbaijaniani representatives what the new government’s position is regarding the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. This is a disputed territory which both Azerbaijan and Armenia lay claim to.
–Just for the audience, I’d like to know your opinion about whether you think that all conflicts are unique or each one has a different background and solution?
–Also something which is a more philosophical question, I would say. Of course every conflict is unique and has different reasons and different historical circumstances. So, I would ask what the Georgian dream is. It’s also a Georgian dream to have no conflicts in the region, to solve every problem in the world, so it’s difficult to answer the question. Even within one country, conflicts are different. How can we compare those conflicts with another country? I think every conflict is unique. Unfortunately or fortunately — I don’t know.
But Azerbaijanian media incorrectly reported that Panjikidze supported Azerbaijan’s claim to Nagorno-Karabakh.
Tuesday, Panjikidze said Azerbaijanian media have corrected the mistake, after they saw the footage of the question and answer.
Although the mistake has been cleared up, Rustavi 2, a TV channel which favors President Mikheil Saakashvili, has for the last few days been reporting Panjikidze’s misrepresentation in Armenian media as a scandal between the two countries. The channel claims that Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili has planned to replace the Foreign Affairs Minister, while the president’s National Movement party for two have said that the new government is creating problems with Georgia’s neighbor countries. They demand that the Foreign Affairs Minister comes to parliament and answers their questions.
The minister called on members of parliament to do their job, instead of running after incorrectly interpreted statements.
“Any time parliament wishes to speak with me, I am ready to go to Kutaisi and talk to foreign affairs committee members and representatives of other committees, if they are interested in talking,” the minister said.
Full clip from the meeting in Lithuania: http://media3.lrs.lt/SEIMAS2010/2012/RENGINIAI/eib20130110h1600en.wmv
It is very clear what Foreign Minister Panjikidze said. Just take a listen to the clip, around 1:06:00, when the Azeri reporter (or ambassador) asks her to clarify if there was a change in the position of Georgia with regards to the Nagorno Karabakh conflict. FM Panjikidze clearly, and repeatedly, stated that “We supports territorial integrity and sovereignty of Azerbaijan”, which simply means that Georgia, on its own, has decided the outcome of the negotiations over disputed NK region, i.e. NK is a part of Azerbaijan. The key word is “sovereignty” of Azerbaijan over NK, which no civilized nations accepts at this point as the “sovereignty” is the core of the dispute. Most countries recognize the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan and state that they will support any solution that Armenia and Azerbaijan agree on with regards to Karabakh. Either Foreign Minister Panjikidze is so unbelievably incompetent as not to understand the true meaning of words that she utters or the position of Georgia has, in deed, changed from de facto pro-Azerbaijan to de jure pro-Azerbaijan (after Georgian PM visit to Baku and exacting more discounts/concessions from Azerbaijan). Now, if there is actually a change of position of Government of Georgia, then there will be serious challenges in Georgia and Armenia relations unless Georgia takes immediate mitigating steps to clarify its position.