PanARMENIAN.Net - President of the European People's Party Wilfried Martens thinks that Ivanishvili’s statement about Georgia’s intention to join NATO and EU, and at the same time establish close ties with Russia is not feasible.
“The Georgian Dream believes it can combine integration into NATO and cooperation with Russia; the question arises - is this possible? I’m afraid Georgia won’t make it into NATO and EU if it maintains close relations with Russia; these ties will bring Georgia to the past, and not to the future,” Martens told the Georgian Imedi TV Company.
Earlier, Ivanishvili had stated his intention to combine integration into EU and membership in NATO with the process of bridging with Russia. “I think the only right path for Georgia’s bright future is confirming its commitment to integration and cooperation with NATO in defense and security areas,” Martens stated.
Meanwhile, the Georgian Dream plans to start negotiations with the South Ossetia and Abkhazia, and oust Russian participation. According to Georgy Volsky, adviser to the coalition leader Ivanishvili, the key topic is the establishment of close ties with the parties and launch of a direct national dialogue. He also mentioned coalition plans to weaken the legislation with regard to the “occupied territories” aiming to lay a basis for new relations with Abkhazia and Ossetia.
“We don’t think we must necessarily name them as puppet regime. It’s time we seriously talk about security jointly and consider this,” Volsky said. He believes the international role in Georgian- Ossetian and Georgian-Abkhaz relations should be “significantly expanded” and “serious political base for large-scale negotiations” must be prepared.
However, the good intentions seem to remain a mere “dream”. Abkhazia and South Ossetia will go for negotiations with Georgia only in case equal conditions are provided. If Tbilisi really accepts the fact of losing these territories… then Ivanishvili will not be the one to be envied. This will give a trump to Saakashvili. Actually, each new president, or rather, coup, deprives Georgia of the gifts it had inherited from USSR. Well, this should have happened anyway, but Caucasus would be more peaceful seeing less conflicts.
Victory of Ivanishvili’s bloc was not something extraordinary: both in Georgia and in the West, Mikheil Saakashvili had discredited himself to the extent they could no longer bear him.
Actually, Ivanishvili has been already “spotted” for his statement on Georgia’s Armenian Diaspora. This did not come as a surprise; such speeches are quite popular in Georgia. “For instance, we have Armenians living here. And I wonder - they have their homeland next door but are living here. You wouldn’t ask about this perhaps, while I cannot understand this. I’ve lived in France and spent a year in the U.S., and I started dreaming about my village and my soil…” Ivanishvili said.
However, after his words stirred wide public response, he began justifying himself: “Unfortunately, my interview with The New Times editor-in-chief Yevgeniya Albats, namely one of my answers has caused certain misunderstanding, and I think I need to say the following. The reporter asked me about the return of my family and myself back to Georgia, and I provided a comprehensive response, but the paper published only some part of it thus totally changing and distorting the context. It seemed as if I am surprised to see Armenians living here while they have their homeland beside. I'd like to mention that all citizens of Georgia have equal rights, irrespective of their ethnic origin. This is guaranteed by the Georgian Constitution, and this is my view as well.
As to the interview, I particularly stressed when speaking to the reporter that I admire the special gift of the Armenians and the Jews who can be citizens of the world; wherever they live, they achieve success everywhere, and have a strong Diaspora. We, Georgians, are amazing people; unfortunately, we never managed to settle anywhere and create a powerful community. This was the key context of my answer. Also, I'd like to mention again that Georgia is a multinational country and home to all the peoples living here.”
Armenians shouldn't expect any positive changes in Javakhk issue either; no hopes that Armenian-language education will be allowed, or political persecution will stop. In this case, Ivanishvili is a worthy successor to Zviad Gamsakhurdia and Saakashvili.
And last, but not least. Several high-ranking Georgian officials, including the former Interior Minister Bacho Akhalaia and deputy Defense Minister Data Akhalaia hastily left the country on October 7 night. Top police figure Megis Kardava and Justice Minister Zurab Adeishvili were also among those who left. Ex-minister of defense David kezerashvili and Givi Targamadze, chairman of Defense and Security Committee of the previous parliament also left Georgia, “Ekho Moskvy” reports.
It’s worth noting that Bacho Akhalaia, Saakashvili’s old ally, stepped down amid a scandal on the eve of the parliamentary elections. The opposition published a footage demonstrating tortures and sexual assault in Tbilisi jail, carried out by personal command of the ex-head of the Interior Ministry, as they claimed.