Maia Panjikidze

Georgian Foreign Minister Maia Panjikidze. (Interpressnews.)

TBILISI, DFWatch–Georgia’s foreign minister is criticized by opponents for saying that the economic sanctions against Russia will not solve the Ukraine crisis. The minister says she was misinterpreted.

Maia Panjikidze on Thursday said that sanctions against Russia are not the right way out of the Ukraine crisis, and that the conflict should be solved through negotiations.

After being criticized by opponents, Panjikidze said on Friday that she was misinterpreted by the opposition, which according to her happens very often.

She said that she meant sanctions aren’t enough to solve the crisis; it is necessary to fundamentally revise the European security system.

“Opponents accuse us of not expressing solidarity with the Ukrainian people,” she said, and underlined that the government has always condemned the annexation of Crimea and supported the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine.

But at the same time, Panjikidze added, Georgia cannot join EU’s sanctions because Georgia is not an EU member. She responded to a call from the National Movement, which demanded that Georgia join the sanctions imposed on Russia by the West.

She said Georgia welcomes every action which will help to solve the crisis.

Davit Bakradze, a member of parliament for the National Movement, called on the government to clearly state its position about who they support. He said supporting the sanctions imposed by the West will show that Georgia stands by the US and EU and is part of western civilization.

He said it is symbolic that Panjikidze made her statement about sanctions not being productive the same day as US President Obama said that sanctions are having an effect and NATO’s secretary general said that NATO is suspending relations with Russia.

Against this background, he said, it is very important that the government shows which side it is supporting and joins the West’s sanctions.