TBILISI, DFWatch–The Georgian prime minister and president are considering writing a letter to NATO about integration issues, according to the country’s foreign minister.
Foreign Affair Minister Maia Panjikidze on Tuesday visited parliament in Kutaisi in western Georgia to answer questions from the United National Movement. The members of parliament reminded her about the president earlier proposal to appeal to NATO with a common letter and wanted to know if the prime minister had refused to do this.
“This is not a bad idea at all, and we can discuss this now,” she said, adding that at the time when the president suggested this, government had only been in existence for one month and it was early, as ‘the so-called cohabitation model wasn’t formed.’
“I do not exclude that a common letter will in fact be sent,” she said.
After the new government come to power, former government officials and opponents accuse Bidzina Ivanishvili and his government for planning to change foreign policy course and make it pro-Russian.
Members of UNM drew attention to a statement the prime minister made during a visit to Armenia, that ‘Armenia is an example for Georgia.’ Armenia does not aspire to become a NATO member.
Panjikidze said the prime minister has never said that Georgia has the same foreign policy course as Armenia.
“The prime minister said that Armenia manages to have good relations with antagonistic countries. I agree that it is desirable that countries have good relations with other countries,” she said. “Georgia’s foreign policy priorities have never changed, because this is not a choice of one single party.”
MP Nugzar Tsiklauri three times asked about a statement Ivanishvili made in Armenia, which made Panjikidze explain several times. She added that opponents are interpreting his words differently.
Members of the former ruling party asked Panjikidze to comment about the restoration of Stalin monuments in different regions of Georgia.
“I do not welcome the restoration of Stalin monuments, I condemn it, and I consider this a private initiative,” she said. “I think the reason is that they might not know well what Stalin represented.“
During the meeting, Panjikidze was dissatisfied that some of MPs were using their phones, instead of listening, while others were having a chat.
She asked Davit Bakradze, who chaired the meeting, if this was ordinary practice in parliament. He said it is usual in parliament, where ‘MPs listen to what they think is interesting to listen to.’
“How good is this, how many things I learn here,” she said, “so I can also start using my phone to send messages?”
“Of course if this doesn’t interrupt you from giving answers,” Bakradze answered.